BANGKOK (Sputnik) – Thai police are looking for a Russian expat living in Phuket, who is suspected of masterminding an online foreign-currency exchange (Forex) trading scheme that has lured 1.4 million people to invest at least 730 million baht ($22 million), The Phuket News reported, citing police.
Police have already arrested 19 suspects involved in the fraud scheme, The Phuket News reported on Thursday, citing Tourist Police Deputy Commander Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn. The Russian national was identified as Alexey Chikalov, 37, from St. Petersburg.
“This is quite a big network. There are major investors behind this, one of them is a Russian – but he has already fled Phuket… Right now were are tracking about 130 million THB in the scheme, but there is another 600mn THB that we are trying to get back for the victims,” the police representative said, as quoted by the publication.
According to the police, a firm that was registered in Bangkok and had offices in Khon Kaen province acted as a financial consultant and found people online as well as local Thais to invest in funds linked to Forex, promising a profit margin of 10 percent for investors. In fact, this money was used to play on the crypto-currency exchange, which is prohibited by Thai law. As a result of the pyramid aspect of the scheme, many investors have lost their money.