California Wow allegedly siphoned Bt1.6 billion overseas

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BANGKOK, June 7 – California Wow, a major Thai market fitness chain which shut down last year, was found to have transferred  Bt1.6 billion overseas during its operations here, the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) announced today.

AMLO secretary general Sihanart Prayoonrat said California Wow Xperience, listed in the Securities Exchange of Thailand in 2006, reported a profitable operation only in the first year as a public company and losses every year from 2007 to 2013.

The company had, however, wired money overseas every year with the highest volume at over Bt495 million in 2010, or more than 1.6 billion in a decade.

Pol Col Sihanart Prayoonrat said the peak of financial outflows were in 2009-2011 when California Wow sent its money out of Thailand via Swift code, adding that a preliminary investigation found 10 people implicated in the scandal.

The closure of the fitness outlet last year affected shareholders and more than 1,000 members. (MCOT online news)