Phuket Authorities Raid 17 Companies Suspected of Russian Ownership Using Thais as Illegal Nominees

Phuket, Thailand – The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) has conducted raids on 17 companies in Phuket amid suspicions that Thai nationals have been acting as illegal nominees for Russian individuals who are suspected of being the true business owners.

The investigation was triggered by reports of fraudulent activity, with suspects falsely claiming affiliation with the Provincial Electricity Authority. Victims were allegedly coerced into downloading an application that allowed the suspects to gain control over their mobile phones. Subsequently, funds totaling over 500,000 baht were transferred from victims to the suspects. These ill-gotten gains were then converted into cryptocurrency via a Russian intermediary, says the CIB.

During the course of their inquiry, officers discovered that one prime Russian suspect had withdrawn a staggering 186 million baht from his bank accounts over a four-month period, spanning from July 2023 to November 2023. The suspect now faces allegations of money laundering.

Interestingly, the Russian individual in the example above holds a valid work permit as an employee of a Phuket-based company. However, further scrutiny revealed that this company was not genuinely operational. It was found to be jointly owned by two Thai women and a Russian woman, forming part of a network of 38 other companies.

On Wednesday, April 3rd, authorities executed search warrants on the implicated companies. Two Thai women confessed to their roles as facilitators in registering these entities, which purportedly provided visa services and other foreigner-related business operations. In reality, these companies were mere fronts, used to generate fraudulent documents for foreign nationals, said the CIB.

The suspects have been apprehended and are now facing charges related to forged documentation and acting as nominees for foreigners. The Phuket Express has refrained from disclosing the names of the Russian suspects and the implicated companies, as the investigation remains ongoing by the CIB.

Related articles:

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) raided an accounting and law company in Chalong for allegedly being an illegal network nominee for foreigners with a hundred million baht of total damages.

The Thai police are investigating vehicle rental businesses in the Thalang district for potential illegal practices. The inquiry, led by Region 8 Police Commander Lieutenant Colonel Suraphong Thanomjit, focuses on the suspicion that foreign business owners might be using Thai citizens as stand-ins to meet legal requirements.

Goongnang Suksawat
Goong Nang is a News Translator who has worked professionally for multiple news organizations in Thailand for many years and has worked with The Pattaya News for more than four years. Specializes primarily in local news for Phuket, Pattaya, and also some national news, with emphasis on translation between Thai to English and working as an intermediary between reporters and English-speaking writers. Originally from Nakhon Si Thammarat, but lives in Phuket and Krabi except when commuting between the three.