Thailand: Crypto miners under watch

Authorities are keeping a close watch on at least 10 cryptocurrency trading platforms which it suspects might be engaging in illegal share manipulation.

Economic Crime Suppression Division (ECD) commander Pol Maj Gen Phuthidej Boonkraphue, said his office has been keeping an eye on the activities of cryptocurrency trading platforms listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET).

He said at least 10 companies, which run cryptocurrency mining operations, are suspected of spreading false claims on social media with the intention of driving up their share prices.

Pol Maj Gen Phuthidej said the firms were believed to be a front for a bogus cryptocurrency mining operation.

These companies, said Pol Maj Gen Phuthidej, were also not run in accordance to best practices as expected of listed companies, adding the ECD has presented the summaries of its investigations to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

If the SEC finds evidence of wrongdoing by the companies, the commission may file a police complaint against the firms.

With trade in cryptocurrency running into hundreds of millions of baht every day, the Central Investigation Bureau has decided to pay closer attention to digital asset brokerage, consultants and trade centres. These businesses require a licence to operate and are subject to close scrutiny by the SEC.

Pol Maj Gen Phuthidej said more than a dozen companies are claiming to have purchased cryptocurrency mining equipment, which significantly drove up their stock prices. However, since last year, only a few listed firms have made money from such investments.

The commander said authorities are concerned over stock speculation, as it would have far-reaching ramifications on investors and the general public. The ECD and the SEC are working together to probe the practices of cryptocurrency companies, he assured.