The wife of the Russian man has described the whole matter as a joke gone wrong to the public at home as she emphasises that her husband never used the toy money to pay for anything in Thailand. The charges before the Provincial Court in Rayong could see the Russian face 10 to 20 year in jail if he were to be found guilty. A police investigation into the matter is underway.
A Russian man was released on bail of ฿300,000 this week from Rayong Prison but faces serious charges after giving some staff at a local bar on an island off Rayong three ‘toy’ $50 bills that his children were playing with at home and they spotted in his wallet.
A Russian man on holiday in Thailand with his wife and young family appeared before a court in Rayong on Tuesday charged under the Thai criminal code on two charges relating to counterfeit currency.
Russian enjoying his holiday last week on an island of Rayong when he went for a drink at a local bar
The man named as Vadim Vedenyapin was staying with friends and his family on an island of Rayong when he was arrested after handing three local people, reported to be staff at a local bar, play dollars used by his children after they had seen them in his wallet.
Bailed out by his family and friends for ฿300,000
The Russian man has been bailed from prison on the mainland in Rayong by his wife and family for ฿300,000 and must stay in Thailand until the court process is complete. If convicted on the charges, he could face up to 20 years imprisonment. Mr Vedenyapin has been charged under Sections 240 and 243 of the criminal code with counterfeiting currency and distributing it.
Story being covered in Rusian with calls for Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to intervene
The story is gaining traction in Russia where a local politician from Yekaterinburg in the Urals, the home city of the family, has called on Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov to intervene in what Mr Vedenyapin’s wife Ekaterina says was a joke.
‘How is it possible to throw a man into jail for such nonsense? These banknotes have indications that they are ‘souvenir products’ in two places on them,’ the distressed young wife and mother told the local newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda this week.
Friend explained what happened at the local bar
A friend of the Russian man, Aleksandr, has explained the story online as there were quite a few sceptical Russians who felt it implausible that such an innocent act could have resulted in the man’s arrest and prosecution.
Aleksandr explained that he and his friend Vadim were enjoying their time in a bar on the Thai island. He said that his friend was paying for his drinks from his wallet using Thai baht as US dollars are generally not used in Thailand as legal tender.
Bar staff noticed the play dollar bills in the Russian’s wallet as he paid for his drinks in Thai baht
He said that while paying for his drinks in the bar, some staff noticed the US souvenir dollars in his wallet. Mr Vedenyapin and his wife had brought the toy currency to Thailand for their young children to play with.
Aleksandr said that the staff at the bar showed great interest in the US currency and gathered around the Russian man offering him services and extras.
Russian eventually relented and gave the bills away
He said his friend eventually relented and gave one of the staff the US currency $50 note which was clearly marked as a ‘souvenir production’ on the front. He then gave two more bar staff who inveigled him to part with the currency notes in his wallet.
Problem arose when the staff drove the Russian home
The problem arose after the three bar staff agreed to ferry the Russian man back to his home on the holiday island. When they arrived there, they saw the Russian couple’s children playing with the identical toy currency on the ground.
The sudden realisation of the joke prompted the bar staff to request that the Russian man exchange the notes for ฿1,000 each. Otherwise, they said, they would report the matter to the local police. He refused the offer. Unfortunately for him, in hindsight, it looks like he made a mistake.
Arrested for distributing counterfeit currency
Mr Vedenyapinn was arrested for exchanging counterfeit currency and transferred to the custody of the court on the mainland in Rayong. He appeared in court on Tuesday, October 1st facing a charge under Article 243 of distributing counterfeit currency but was later also charged under Article 240.
Russian wife not impressed by Thai sense of humour
Following his arrest, his wife Ekaterina went public with the story on Monday, September 30th and issued this message on social media: ‘Urgent! We are in Thailand. On holidays with kids. One of us got into trouble. Made a lame joke. Bought toy bucks for kids to play and gave to locals as a present. Turned out to be no great souvenir from Rasha. Here everything is treated seriously. In Thailand, they failed to get the joke. The court hearing is tomorrow. The laws in Thailand are tough. Very tough.’
Russian did not use the money to obtain any benefit
The Russian woman has emphasised that at no time did her husband use the toy currency to pay for goods or services. She said that the whole matter was a joke. The currency is clearly marked as a souvenir product and stipulates that it not meant to be considered as a means for legal exchange.
The problem, of course, is that this as printed in English and the $50 bills look remarkably like the real $50 bearing the portrait of American General and US President Ulysses S. Grant.
Consular official at the Russian Embassy confirms the arrest and bail of the Russian national
The Consular Head for the Russian Embassy, Vladimir Pronin, in Thailand has confirmed the arrest of Mr Vedenyapin in Rayong and said that the man had been released on bail.
He outlined the two charges as bringing counterfeit currency into Thailand and distributing it. He also pointed out that an investigation into the case by police is being undertaken to provide the court with the necessary facts as part of the legal process in Thailand.
Bail doubled from ฿150k to ฿300k
Following the court hearing on Tuesday last October 1st , the Russan man’s wife went to the prison in Rayong where her husband was being held to pay the bail initially set at ฿150,000.
She had raised the funds through appeals to family and friends in Russia. After an hour of waiting, she was informed by prison staff that the bail requirement was now ฿300,000 following the extra charge had been lodged against her husband in the case.
Must now wait for the legal process to take its course
This was found and paid by Ms Vedenyapin. The next question for the family is how long the court process will take and the Russian man and his family’s living arrangements.
This is not even to contemplate yet the prospect facing the family if he should be found guilty.