In a bizarre developing story out of Thailand, the murder of a man accused of a decades-old Ponzi scheme has been linked to a pre-meditated murder plot by several of his associates. Akeyuth Anchanbutr, 54, had been reported missing for nearly a week before authorities arrested his driver, Santiphap Pengduang, and several associates this week for his murder. Pengduang led authorities to a shallow grave today, where a body was exhumed that is believed to be Anchanbutr's. Authorities believe that Anchanbutr's murder was motivated by money.
Anchanbutr was the former leader of Charter Investment Co. Ltd ("Charter"), a controversial pyramid scheme that gained popularity in the early 1980s. After he was criminally charged in 1983, he fled the country to England, where he waited twenty years for the statute of limitations on his case to expire before returning to Thailand. When he returned, he launched a crusade against Thailand authorities, including the Prime Minister, accusing them of political abuses in the stock market. While Anchanbutr's assets were seized after he fled the country, he was rumored to have built a sizeable fortune
Late last week, authorities were alerted to a possible abduction after it was reported that security cameras at Anchanbutr's house had been tampered with and a sizeable amount of cash was reported missing. Authorities soon named Pengduang, Anchanbutr's driver, as a person of interest, noting that he had a criminal record and had recently been charged with extortion. After Pengduang was located, he initially told police that Anchanbutr had planned his own disappearance. However, after further questioning, Pengduang confessed to the killing, and implicated several associates - including his father. According to Pengduang, the murder had been planned for several months to coincide with one of Anchanbutr's trips to the bank, where he regularly withdrew sizeable sums of money.
Authorities flew Pengduang by helicopter to a supposed location where Anchanbutr had been buried. Authorities located a naked body in a 'crude' grave that was pending forensic confirmation that it was Anchanbutr.
Anchanbutr's lawyer maintains that the killing was politically motivated.