Phantawat “Nott” Nakwisut, a prominent figure in the lottery industry, found himself entangled in a high-stakes money-laundering case as he was one of the 41 persons indicted on such charges. The case revolves around Phantawat reportedly providing Atthakarn (surname withheld) with winning lottery tickets worth a staggering 53 million baht. Atthakarn then allegedly deposited this large sum of money into the CEO’s bank account. Currently, Atthakarn has fled from the situation and is evading capture.
Out of the 41 accused, Phantawat and 16 other individuals appeared in court on Friday to face the allegations, while 20 individuals remain at large and four are already imprisoned. During the court proceedings, the CEO recounted his side of the story, stating that he had met Atthakarn only once via an intermediary agency when he enlisted his services to claim winnings from the Government Lottery Office. This was allegedly for unspecified “business reasons.”
Phanthawat explained that these transactions took place during the early stages of setting up the online lottery platform. At that time, he was reaching out to various business partners and investors and had little to no opportunity to scrutinize each individual’s background thoroughly. He lamented, “If these criminals had been caught earlier, I would not be the one being blamed for money laundering.”
The embattled CEO adamantly maintained his innocence and claimed he played no part in any money-laundering operations. Phantawat expressed confidence that he would be able to clear his name in court. Furthermore, he pointed out a significant issue plaguing his company: criminal groups impersonating his company’s employees to defraud unsuspecting individuals. These fraudsters lure people into purchasing “random boxes” with the promise of winning mysterious prizes, resulting in substantial financial losses totaling over 10 million baht. The CEO implored the police to focus their attention on these scams instead of fixating on the money-laundering allegations against him.
Phantawat’s online lottery platform, Kong Salak Plus, gained popularity for not charging commissions. However, a court shut it down in February over accusations of selling overpriced tickets and even allowing individuals under 20 years old to buy tickets, which is against the law. In a surprising turn of events, Phantawat recently founded a political party called “Change” which plans to participate in the forthcoming May 14 election, with him serving as the party’s leader.