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Army general surrenders over billion-baht Ufun scheme

BANGKOK: A Thai army general and top executive of Ufun has turned himself in after fleeing to the United States in mid-April, claiming he had been deceived into investing in a regional investment scheme, reports the Bangkok Post.

crimemilitarypolicecorruptioneconomics
By Bangkok Post

Saturday 29 August 2015, 05:47PM


Maj Gen Athiwat Soonpan (right), the international executive chairman of Ufun, and his wife, Jirapimon, turn themselves in at Suvarnabhumi Airport after returning from the US. Photo: Post Today

Maj Gen Athiwat Soonpan (right), the international executive chairman of Ufun, and his wife, Jirapimon, turn themselves in at Suvarnabhumi Airport after returning from the US. Photo: Post Today

Maj Gen Athiwat Soonpan, the international executive chairman of Ufun, and his wife, Jirapimon, flew back to Bangkok early Saturday morning (August 29) and reported themselves to Pol Lt Gen Suwira Songmetta, an assistant police chief, at the Suvarnabhumi police station.

The couple, suspects No. 81 and 82 respectively in the case, are on arrest warrants issued in April on charges of collaborating to borrow fraudulently from the public.

They reportedly fled to the US on April 10. Their lawyer son later informed the police in writing they would turn themselves in.

Maj Gen Athiwat said Arthit Pankaew, another key suspect in the same case, had persuaded him to invest in Ufun. He insisted he had no position or management power in the company and that he simply served as a trusted adviser with a monthly salary.

He admitted he had talked to Ufun executive chairman Daniel Tay but had never contacted him since police built a case against the Thai operation.

The army general claimed like Ufun customers, he had been lured into investing in the company. He also had no intention to flee because he had planned his US trip before the case took shape.

But police investigations found the general is a high-ranking executive and has management authority. He also signed documents and contracts on behalf of the company, possibly to inspire confidence with his military rank.

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Anti-money laundering officials also discovered the couple had accepted transfers from the company involving B53 million.

Police on Saturday (August 29) brought him for further questioning at the Consumer Protection Police Division at the Government Complex in Nonthaburi province.

Thai police built a case against Ufun early this year, saying it is a pyramid scheme.

A pyramid scheme is a fraudulent investment structured to funnel the money put in by new investors back to earlier participants, who therefore have an incentive to bring more people into the scheme.

In Phuket, the search continues for several suspects believed to be still hiding on the island. (See story here).

 

Read the original Bangkok Post story here.

 

 

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