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Cops to probe B65m Phuket asset scam

The national police chief has ordered a probe into an Irish businessman's embezzlement case in which the victim claimed he was conned out of millions of baht worth of assets in Phuket.

By Bangkok Post

Monday 8 June 2015, 09:06AM

Colin Vard and his children have tried to lodge the petition with the national police chief. (Bangkok Post photo)

Colin Vard and his children have tried to lodge the petition with the national police chief. (Bangkok Post photo)

The move came after Colin Vard, accompanied by his daughter and son, petitioned police chief Somyot Poompunmuang last Tuesday (June 2).

Mr Vard said a group of prominent figures in Phuket colluded to forge legal documents to trick him out of assets worth about B65 million.

He said the culprits are powerful people including senior justice authorities, bankers and real estate agents.

According to police, Mr Vard has owned and operated the Phuket Property Development Co since 2001.

Mr Vard said the scam began when Ms Nittaya Sukhampha, the mother of his son, borrowed B600,000 from loan sharks to open a noodle shop.

But as the loan's interest rate went up, his family could not pay off the debt so Ms Nittaya was forced to collude with the loan sharks to dupe him out of the money.

QSI International School Phuket

As the scam unfolded, Mr Vard said he lost the properties owned by his company, and his house worth around B65 million in total to powerful figures as they conspired to forge legal documents.

In June, 2013, a group of armed men forced him to leave his house. His properties were later sold to investors and he neither acknowledged the sales nor received money. Mr Vard later filed a lawsuit to reclaim his properties but the scammers paid B1.2 million to his lawyer to ensure he lost the case.

Six police officers in Phuket have been summoned to Bangkok for questioning while Pol Col Veerawat Chantaravijit, deputy chief of the Phuket Provincial Police, has vowed to ensure justice for Mr Vard's family.

Pol Col Veerawat will work with Pol Lt Col Chai Sangansin from the Royal Thai Police Office (RTPO) and Yodmongkol Sappaisansook, a senior lawyer from the Justice Ministry in the investigation.

Meanwhile, Mr Vard's daughter, Jessie, has expressed her gratitude to Pol Gen Somyot and Thai authorities on her Facebook page, Justice For Jessie Thailand, for opening her father's case.

Read original story here.



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