Criminal Court Rules Daruma Sushi Restaurant Owner Not Guilty of Public Fraud – Chiangrai Province
Daruma Sushi restaurant

Criminal Court Rules Daruma Sushi Restaurant Owner Not Guilty of Public Fraud


A high-profile fraud case filed by customers and investors against the Daruma Sushi restaurant chain was dismissed by the Criminal Court on Friday. The court ruled that Metha Chalingsuk, the chain’s owner, and the corporation that manages it were not guilty of public fraud, computer crime, money laundering, or false advertising in the 2022 case.

Mr Metha, 41, was present in court to hear the judgement.

Daruma Sushi Co was incorporated on January 12, 2016, with a registered capital of five million baht. The company, which is known for its low-cost salmon buffets, has grown to 27 sites.

The corporation came under scrutiny in 2022 when 999 people filed complaints with the police. The group consisted of 11 franchisees who had purchased the rights to operate a branch for between 2 million and 2.5 million baht each.

The complainants claimed 42.3 million baht in damages, stating that Mr Metha and Daruma Sushi Co had misled them.

The remaining 988 complainants were customers who purchased coupons for reduced meals in bulk but were unable to use them after the restaurant closed on June 16, 2022 due to liquidity issues.

Metha Chalingsuk, owner of the Daruma Sushi restaurant chain, was arrested on fraud charges at Suvarnabhumi airport on June 22, 2022.

Prosecutors wanted the court to rule on two issues: whether the defendants committed fraud and if they laundered the restaurant’s profits.

The court heard that consumers were allowed to utilise the vouchers until the eatery came into financial difficulties.

However, the Russia-Ukraine war, which began in early 2022, increased the price of fresh salmon, the major feature on the Daruma menu. As a result, the restaurant experienced liquidity issues and had to close.

Mr Metha departed the country due to the strain of the business failure, but he later returned and was detained at Suvarnabhumi airport in June 2022.

The court determined that the defendants had no intention of deceiving clients, despite having set extremely low voucher pricing, which the restaurant claimed was a marketing technique to attract customers.

Furthermore, the court decided that the defendants did nothing to coerce clients to purchase the coupons, nor did they conceal information regarding the restaurant’s financial status. According to the judges, they did not intend to swindle anyone.

Daruma Sushi

The court discovered no irregularities in Mr Metha’s finances that may establish he had laundered the Daruma Sushi Restaurant’s money.

He often sent funds from his own bank accounts to his adoptive mother to care for her and to his pals to pay off personal debts. He also made international financial transfers, although they were for personal use.

The court dismissed the case because there was no credible proof that the defendants had broken the law.

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