Finnish company operating from Thailand suspected of aggravated fraud
Gullible investors were promised vast profits in no time
The police are investigating on two separate fronts the activities of a Finnish-led investment firm called Ikaros Group, which operates in Thailand.
The company’s two Finnish directors are suspected of aggravated fraud and other persons in charge of a stock market related reporting offence. Both are serious crimes.
The matter was widely reported by the Tampere-based Aamulehti daily in its Thursday issue. According to Aamulehti, Ikaros would have collected investment capital worth EUR five million from 250 Finnish investors.
The fraud suspicions are being looked into by the economic crime unit of the Pirkanmaa Police, who received a request for investigation regarding the matter already at the end of last year.
According to Det. Insp. Jukka Moilanen, who is in charge of the investigation, the issuer of the request had invested a substantial sum of money into a Phuket night club project run by a Phuket-based company IG Entertainment, which is part of the Ikaros Group.
The issuer contacted the police towards the end of last year after the promised first lot of the proceeds from the project failed to reach him.
Investors were sought by the Ikaros Group’s financial management company called IG Wealth Management. Among the wealth of the company’s advertised investment projects were palm oil and energy businesses, properties, a periodical, and a night club called "Babylon".
The promises were wild. From the palm oil business the firm’s calculations promised profit per hectare that was up to ten times higher than the trade average. For investments into the Babylon night club, the company promised 45-60 per cent returns already for the first year.
As a consequence, in addition to the night club the Tampere-based investor who issued the request to police had invested money in several other Ikaros Group projects as well, Moilanen explains.
The nightclub was supposed to be erected in a prime location in Phuket. So far the club has failed to begin operation.
Investors were sought in Finland through a network marketing scheme, in other words by spreading the word to potential investors. Everything was done in secrecy.
Even peculiar methods, to say the least, were used in an attempt to add to the company’s credibility. According to the presented material, the company’s economic director was a retired Finnish banker, who lives in Thailand.
Last autumn the banker in question was forced to buy advertising space in Finnish newspapers to announce that he had absolutely nothing to do with the Ikaros Group.
Det. Insp. Moilanen has been in touch with one of the suspects, who promised to provide the police with information regarding his business affairs.
The promised information never arrived.
Ikaros Group’s agent operating in Finland has been arrested, and Moilanen is currently preparing, together with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), an international executive assistance request to the Thailand police for questioning the suspects.
The NBI, in turn, is looking into the suspected stock market related reporting offence.
The investigation was launched last year out of a request by FIN-FSA. The aim of the soon-to-be completed investigation is to find out if the Ikaros Group should have had its brochure material approved by the Financial Supervisory Authority before the selling of securities to Finnish investors.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Looking for Mr. WinCapita (14.9.2008)
WinCapita fugitive arrested in Swedish town (15.12.2008)
Main suspect in WinCapita pyramid scheme lived ascetic life as a fugitive (23.12.2008)
Police looking for main suspect in WinCapita fraud case (14.11.2008)