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FBI hunt Dubliner in £100m Thai share swindle

THE Dublin-born mastermind allegedly behind a massive £100m share fraud yesterday left a special memento behind for the FBI and Thai police who closed down his Bangkok operation.

The entrepreneur in his early 40s left a cartoon caricature of himself as a "high roller" surrounded by ringing phones, sipping from a bottle of Corona Mexican beer and floating in a sea of US dollar bills.

And while the Dubliner was said to be continuing to enjoy the life of a high-flying money man, his 79 minions, who include ten Irishmen, were paraded before a court in Bangkok. They faced charges resulting out of an investigation into two 'boiler house' operations and were charged with working in Thailand without work permits.

Police Colonel Surapol Thongprasert, chief of Thailand's transnational crime unit, said the salesmen would face a £100 fine or three months in jail. But as none are known to have a criminal record, he expected them to only be fined.

A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said the ten Irishmen had been visited by Ireland's honorary consul Peter Biesty and "appeared well".

Last night they were being held by immigration authorities near Bangkok airport and may be deported.

Two companies, the Brinton Group and Benson Dupont International, were closed down by Thai Police accompanied by Australian Federal Police, the FBI and the Securities Exchange Commission on Thursday, amid allegations they had scammed at least £100m by using high-pressure tele-sales tactics to encourage investment in non-existent share deals.

The Dubliner who left his caricature hanging up in the offices in Bangkok City Tower in the centre of the Thai capital, was named by a former "trader" for the Brinton Group and a foreign police source in Bangkok as the major player in a series of 'boiler room' scams in Bangkok and worldwide.

Police also have the names of two other Irishmen and an Australian they believe also hold top ranking positions in the scam but who also evaded arrest.

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