Thailand’s international status as an international fraud hub, set in stone over the last 25 years, is unlikely to suffer in the much publicised war on corruption by the current military government.
Police in the UK have passed on information on a prominent British citizen, named Paul, who controls the master lease on Nana Plaza in Bangkok with the Indian Thai FICO group, to a special ‘Panama Papers’ Squad set up after the revelations last year. But I’m guessing the enquiry is going nowhere.
|Thailand’s first Police Chief under the military government greeting foreign punters at Bangkok’s sex entertainment area ‘Nana Plaza’ – He left office a millionaire.|
For while British police and Scotland Yard have a pretty good international reputation, old hands know that there is a lot of spin and as often as not they do not get their man. It’s a matter of hand wringing not least among the police themselves.
Fraud is one area where they consistently fall down despite an upbeat reputation held by the City Fraud Squad, or rather Economic Crimes Unit.
Sadly also, officers on this unit have been known to retire early to join major banks – such as HSBC – the very people they should be watching – because at the end of the day the proceeds of all major frauds, and money lending goes through them.
Indeed the Fraud Squad’s link man who investigated Paul in Hong Kong some years ago has indeed retired to join the security staff of HSBC.
And while many names have surfaced in the papers of well known ‘boiler room’ (share fraudsters) in Bangkok, our British pal Paul, has, as has been shown, kept a low profile. This supports his own statement to me several years ago in which he said: ‘I do not have a bank account – not even a credit card’.
This is difficult to believe as he gave an ‘exclusive’ statement to Crawley Town Football Club in the UK, to which he had contributed some £5 million, stating he was a high profile figure.
“My name is Paul (redacted). I was born in Northampton. I have three wonderful children and have been married for 15 years.
“I currently co-own and manage the largest [night] life group in south east Asia with branches in Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore.
“In addition to this we manage and co-own, as landlords, the largest adult entertainment complex in the world, although we don’t manage any of the businesses inside the complex.
“Our group currently has more than 3,000 employees in bars, restaurants and nightclubs.
“My group was formed in 1998 and started with just two Irish bars.”
His partner was Mickey D.
He added: “”Mickey and I saw Crawley Town as an escape from high-profile lives in Asia, where we can’t buy a loaf of bread without being recognised as the ‘big club guys'”.
They were men of the people, he said.
“We weren’t interested in the boardroom. I prefer a burger and a pint to a prawn sandwich,” he said.
Only reular clubbers might recognise Paul as the ‘big club guy’.
|PAUL and MICKEY(right) at Crawley Town Football Club|
No. Crawley Town FC was not so much an escape from Asia but much more likely a way in which to launder funds for which he could not have a reasonable explanation. Though in this case, having been outed, they ended up pretty much as a gift as the club has now been sold to a Turk.
In reality, whether he like’s it or not he is much better known as the ‘bald-headed Brummie boiler room &*%£@@!’ and ‘Mickey’ is known as his gofer.
Two months ago Thailand’s Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul announced:
“We want Thailand to be about quality tourism. We want the sex industry gone,” she said.
This of course led to the London SUN running copious pictures of Thailand’s sex trade.
Followers of the Thai military government’s moral crusade have to understand that this is all as meaningless as as government statements, such as those on Avian flu and now the Zika virus.
And while there have been raids on sex establishments carried out on government instructions its business as usual and of course these have not involved those which come under Paul’s umbrella. But rival clubs have been raided.
Of course Paul’s clubs could not be committing any offences because the security officers employed at them are pretty much all off-duty cops. Watch the office on the first floor of Nana Plaza.
Of course if Paul has top generals on his payroll, as the Confederation of Defrauded Victims (see below) maintain, then nothing is going to happen to him under the current government, and while the Thais appear to have voted against democracy, his victims are in for the long haul.
Foreign police forces (the boiler rooms concentrated on European and Australian punters for years) know there are links between the boiler rooms and the Thai ‘establishment’.
When the US DEA asked the Crime Suppression Division to raid the Chiang Mai home of boiler room king Glen Bullard a heavy cocaine user in 2014 they were somewhat dismayed when the CSD found absolutely nothing.
And when days later DEA help co-ordinate a raid on Canadian boiler room boss Frank
Giannini in Lat Krabang, Bangkok, they were also ‘dismayed’. Although Giannini and another were caught with heroin – both were quietly released from jail and and Giannini was given his computers back
International investigations into ‘boiler rooms’ in Thailand were scuppered between 2000 and 2005 after the much publicised raids on the Brinton Group, FCI and other boiler rooms in Bangkok.
|FBI officer (in jacket in foreground) at the raid on the Brinton Group in Bangkok City Tower|
The raids prompted by the Australian Federal Police and also attended by the FBI resulted in no charges being brought against the bosses – except for running financial companies without the proper licences. The bosses were fined about 300,000 baht each – a mere bagatelle to them. After that they stared diverting their cash into Thailand’s sex industry.
But its not as if the Aussie Feds came out totally clean. They knew that much of the defrauded victims cash was sitting in banks in Hong Kong and did sweet F.A. about it.
As for Britain. Despite Scotland Yard’s seeming support of the Thai police enquiry into the murders on the Thai island of Koh Tao of Britons Hannah Witheridge and David Miller and its refusal to hand over material citing ‘the chilling effects’ on international police relationships and ‘public security’ the National Crime Agency staff in Bangkok are fully aware of the close relationships between boiler room bosses and high ranking police and army officials. Under the current government only the names have changed.
Anyway there is now a breakdown on the net of Bangkok’s boiler room boys and their mention in the Panama Papers. You’ll find mates and relatives of Paul and quite a few Thai names – but not Paul himself.
It’s the latest contribution courtesy of my friends over at the Confederation of Defrauded Victims, a group of international victims of boiler room frauds, which they say were carried out by ‘ the big club guy’ and others.
You can read it here. It’s also worth reading the other stories on their site.