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Bangkok Post
Bangkok Post

Amlo to seize B4.5bn in MORE-linked assets

The Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) is preparing to seize assets worth nearly 4.5 billion baht from More Return Plc (MORE) in a follow-up to regulatory and criminal investigations into irregular trading in its shares last year.

Amlo has asked prosecutors to file a court motion to confiscate the assets of Apimuk Bamrungwong, the fourth-largest shareholder of MORE, in addition to his group’s assets, said Theppasu Bavornchotidara, the deputy secretary-general of the agency.

The filing alleges that Mr Apimuk and his group committed fraudulent acts under the Criminal Code, described as a “predicate offence” under Section 3 (18) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 1999.

Shares of MORE dropped by 2.50%, or 1 satang, on Friday to finish at 0.39 baht, in trade worth 22 million baht. The shares listed on the Market for Alternative Investment have declined for three days in a row.

The original complaint was filed by the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) with the police Economic Crime Suppression Division (ECD) on Nov 14, after the SET suspended trading of the energy, water and property-related company.

The saga began when MORE shares opened at 2.90 baht on Thursday, Nov 10, up 4.3% from the previous day. The price then dropped to 1.95 baht and fell further the next day to 1.34 baht, which prompted the SET to notify investors to trade with caution. It also told brokers to increase measures to monitor trading of the securities.

Late last year, Amlo ordered brokers to freeze 34 assets related to MORE and MORE-R stocks worth 5.37 billion baht, in the form of cash and assets purchased with proceeds from sales of the two stocks.

The investigation also led to the suspension of Asia Wealth Securities, one of several brokerages through which the perpetrators made trades for large amounts of the company’s shares.

MORE, according to the company’s website, is involved in several business ventures, from selling water filters to energy-saving devices. Last December it raised its registered capital through private placement by offering 300 million shares, or 4.39% of its shares, to chief executive Ummarit Klomchitcharoen for 132 million baht.

In a related development, Mr Theppasu said that Amlo had seized a total of 393 items worth 4.6 billion baht in other cases.

Of the seized items, 220 worth around 106 million baht were associated with illegal activities, including drugs, fraud and online gambling.

Mr Theppasu said that Lak Si Station Ltd Partnership and its associates, which allegedly lured investors into a mushroom farm scam, were in breach of Section 3 of the Anti-money Laundering Act for loan fraud.

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