Fugitive wanted by FBI for stock fraud arrested in Phuket
A foreign man wanted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was arrested in Phuket province on Saturday for allegedly manipulating stock prices in the United States.
The 54-year-old suspect, identified only as “Peter Jr”, was apprehended at the hotel he was staying at near Surin Beach in the province’s Thalang district, following an arrest warrant issued on December 27.
The FBI’s Bangkok legal office has requested that he be extradited to the US to face charges that include colluding in securities fraud and stock price manipulation.
If found guilty, he faces up to 20 years in jail under US law.
The suspect is a citizen of Saint Kitts and Nevis, a country comprising two islands in the Caribbean.
It is well known as a tax haven and one of the least financially transparent jurisdictions in the world.
Thai police said that – according to the FBI – Peter Jr and his accomplices took over a US-based instant-food business in 2014, with a plan to list it on a US exchange.
However, the suspect allegedly transferred company shares to other individuals involved in the alleged scam. In 2019, they listed the company with an initial public offering price of US$ 1.25 per share.
Subsequently, Peter Jr allegedly paid a group of stock traders to help inflate the company’s stock price to $12.99 per share as of April 16, 2021 – a 939% rise in value within two years.
At the same time, the suspect allegedly transferred 3.5 million company shares to an individual nominee and businesses in Macau, making him the largest shareholder.
In September last year, arrest warrants were issued for him and his accomplices by a court in the US state of New Jersey. His father, identified only as Peter Sr, and another accomplice, have been arrested in the US, according to Thai police.