Actor's parents deny role in bitcoin scam

From left, Lertchatkamol Jaravijit, her husband Suwit and their son Jiratpisit are at the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok on Monday. (Photo by Wassayos Ngamkham)

The parents of 27-year-old actor Jiratpisit "Boom" Jaravijit claimed innocence as they were questioned on Monday by police probing whether they had a hand in a recent bitcoin scandal in which a Finnish investor was swindled out of almost 800 million baht worth of bitcoins.

Suwit Jaravijit and his wife Lertchatkamol turned up at the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) on Monday, which was the final day of the window allotted to them by police to appear voluntarily for questioning.

They were accompanied by Jiratpisit, a key suspect who had previously been released on bail, to meet CSD deputy commander Pol Col Chakrit Sawasdee. The couple reportedly had 90 million baht transferred to their bank accounts as part of the scam.

Pol Col Chakrit said the couple were summoned to explain these huge deposits, reportedly wired by their oldest son, Prinya Jaravijit, accused of being the prime suspect in the case.

The couple's lawyer said after the four-hour questioning that the pair turned up to show their sincerity and give information about the bank transfers.

Former army officer Thammanat Phromphao, who is suspected of receiving shares in the company DNA 2002 Plc from Mr Prinya, has been summoned to explain the transaction to police today.

On Jan 29, Mr Prinya sold 425 million shares of the company for 340 million baht, or 0.80 baht per share, to Capt Thammanat, a former army officer.

The CSD has pressed fraud charges against five suspects in the case. They are Jiratpisit and Mr Prinya (both also facing another charge of conspiring to launder money) as well as Mr Prinya's younger brother Tanasit Jaravijit, major stock trader Prasit Srisuwan and Chakris Ahmad, a major shareholder of Expay Software Co.

The group is accused of luring Finn Aarni Otava Saarimaa into transferring 5,564 bitcoins, equivalent to about 797 million baht, to them, claiming it to be an investment in the shares of three firms -- DNA 2002, Expay Software and NX Chain Inc.

However, the victim failed to receive the shares, according to police.

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