WealthEver executives summoned to give accounts

WealthEver executives meet with officers at the Crime Suppression Division on Saturday. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

Six executives of a firm that allegedly organised bogus package tours to Japan met with police on Saturday, as investigators continued to build a case against the company's detained founder.

Police did not file charges against the six executives, as they were being treated as witnesses, said Pol Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, the deputy national police chief.

Pol Gen Srivara took part in the questioning at the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) along with Pol Maj Gen Suthin Sabphuang, the CSD commander; and Col Burin Thongprapai, a legal officer of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

Investigators at this stage are looking for more information that they can use to back up the charges filed against the owner of WeatlhEver, Pasit "Shogun" Arinchalayapis.

Thanyawalai Namkaew, one of the witnesses, said she and others questioned on Saturday showed police some documents related to the firm.

Mrs Thanyawalai said that all of them were appointed as WealthEver executives without written authorisation and were promised handsome returns after the firm started to earn profits.

WealthEver claimed to sell food supplements through direct sales and rewarded members with overseas trips once their purchases reached 8,830 baht. The promise of tour packages attracted many members and some sales network leaders sold the trips to outsiders for higher price tags.

Mrs Thanyawalai said one condition for tourists going on the trips was that they take photographs with the products for promotional purposes.

"The firm did not arrange training programmes to promote its supplements. Membership came through personal contacts with commissions," she said, adding that she was one of the travellers stranded at Suvarnabhumi airport on Tuesday.

Police, however, say they suspect that WeathEver is a Ponzi scheme.

About 1,000 tourists hoping for a trip to Japan were stuck at the airport on Tuesday after they found out that no charter flights had been arranged for them. Another group of about 1,000 was scheduled to depart on Wednesday and that trip was called off.

Previous trips to Japan and Hong Kong had gone ahead without any problems.

Ms Pasit and eight alleged accomplices including family members fled to Ranong from Bangkok on Tuesday night before all were arrested a day later in the southern province.

Only the WealthEver owner faces fraud charges. The Criminal Court on Friday ordered her detained at the Central Women's Correctional Institute in Bangkok for 12 days.

Criminal suspects can be detained for up to seven 12-day periods, or 84 days, before charges must be formally laid.

Her alleged accomplices are in army custody at the 11th Army Circle under the authority of the NCPO. Col Burin said soldiers would turn them over to police for charges to be filed.

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