A 22-year-old Finnish cryptocurrency millionaire and his Thai partner are believed to have become the victims of a major scam in Thailand back in the summer of 2017.
The young investor stands to lose even more at the hands of Finnish tax authorities looking to recover taxes from possible gains from the increased value of the invested cryptocurrency.
Meanwhile police in Thailand suspect that the band of swindlers relieved the Finnish man and his partner of over 5,500 units of the currency, which had an estimated value of 21 million euros at the time the crime occurred.
Since then, the value of the digital currency has risen, placing the value of the sham investment at 30 million euros.
The man and his partner filed a criminal complaint with the police in January this year and the case was publicly reported in August in Thailand and Finland.
Victim duped into buying non-existent equity
According to the Bangkok Post, the victim reported that Thai con artists duped him and his partner into investing millions of euros into the shares of three Thai firms, a casino as well as a cryptocurrency known as Dragon Coin.
The victims handed over the investments to the suspected scammers in cryptocurrency. According to the Bangkok Post, the Finnish man said that he did not receive the promised shares or crypto tokens as agreed.
The conmen changed the digital currency into baht, the Thai currency, and transferred the money to bank accounts owned by several of the suspects. The Thai paper reported that the money was transferred to accounts owned by a well-known businessman as well as that of a 27-year-old television actor and his relatives.
The leader of the gang is believed to be the actor’s brother, whom authorities suspect has since fled to the United States. Police said that at least nine people are involved in the scam.
The Post said that the suspected ringleader was tipped off about the Finnish target by a banker.
Meanwhile last week the paper also reported that Thai police rounded up staff at three Thai banks suspected of being complicit in the plot. The bank employees all transferred money related to the racket while failing to report transactions involving sums in excess of two million baht (approximately 53,000 euros) as required by Thailand's anti-money laundering regulations.
Tax bill may run into millions
According to the Finnish Tax Administration Vero, any rise in the value of cryptocurrencies as a result of trading transactions is subject to taxation.
This interpretation means that increases in the value of the Finnish man’s cryptocurrency holdings would have become taxable capital gains income once he transferred it to the swindlers, and would therefore be subject to a capital gains tax.
Finnish tax authorities apply a tax rate of 30 percent to capital gains income and the tax rate rises to 34 percent for gains exceeding 30,000 euros. If the scam victim were compelled to pay taxes on the increased value of his digital assets, he would be faced with a massive bill amounting to millions of euros.