Is your cryptocurrency portfolio looking a little light lately? That’s nothing compared to one Finnish investor, who lost 5,500 Bitcoin ($35 million) to an investment scam this year.
Bangkok Post reports that businessman Aarni Otava Saarimaa was approached by a group who sought to link him up with some hot investments: shares in a few high-profile companies and a cryptocurrency called Dragon Coin.
The story reads almost like a screenplay: a young, tech-savvy international millionaire courted by a Thai criminal syndicate (run by a movie star) for Bitcoin investments – none of which eventuated.
The gang allegedly had convinced Saarimaa and an associate that Dragon Coin was to be accepted by casinos as a legitimate means of payment. The pair was even taken to a casino in Macao to convince them to ‘invest.’
That trip was apparently enough for them to part with 5,564.4 Bitcoin – over $35 million. Suspicions were only raised when Saarimaa saw none of the promised returns; all of the Bitcoin had been immediately sold and distributed amongst the gang.
The police ran investigations for six months before swooping in. Thai movie star Jiratpisit “Boom” Jaravijit was arrested on-set for his connections to the case. Police further allege that his two siblings were also involved – one had fled the country, the other is in talks with authorities, as spotted by CoinDesk.
This isn’t the first time celebrities have been caught up in dodgy cryptocurrency deals. Back in June, several high-profile Bollywood stars were implicated in a $300 million Bitcoin scam. It’s alleged that the celebrities used their influence to convince investors to throw money at a series of Bitcoin-related businesses that posted none of the returns promised.
Celebrities have also been under fire for backing shitty initial coin offerings (ICOs). Floyd Mayweather, DJ Khaled, and footballer Luis Suarez were all forced to sever ties with cryptocurrency payment platform Centra after its co-founders were arrested and charged with fraud.