6 June 2024

Thai tycoon Prasit Jeawkok was sentenced to 1,155 years in prison today (Monday), after he was found guilty of 321 counts of fraud by the Criminal Court.

In practice, however, the most he will serve is 20 years under Thai law.

Prasit and two co-defendants were each fined 145 million baht and ordered to pay 321 victims about one billion baht in compensation for the damage caused to them.

Six other co-defendants were, however, acquitted due to insufficient evidence.

Prasit and his associates were accused of operating a Ponzi scheme, under the cover of an investment venture, throughout2020 and 2021, promising lucrative returns on investments ranging from 40.15-51.1%.

The reading of the court’s verdict was streamed via video conference to the Bang Khwang maximum security prison, where Prasit is being during the trial.

Prasit was registered as a director of at least 10 companies involved in diverse businesses, including online hotel booking, air ticketing, tourism, real estate wholesale computer hardware and software and IT system design.

His website describes him as the “Jack Ma of Thailand”. A page titled “The president’s biography” displays photos of Prasit taken with late Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and several former cabinet ministers and senior military commanders.

He claimed that 90% of his profits were returned to society through a project called “Paying Back to the Motherland”, boasting 100 million baht each year in charity work and donations to the public.