The husband of Thai celebrity, Napapa “Patt” Tantrakul, was formally charged Monday with money laundering for his connection to transnational Laotian drug lord, Xaysana Keopimpha.
Akarakit Worarojcharoendet, or “Benz Racing,” is accused of conspiring to launder money with a friend for the narcotics network formerly operated by Xaysana, who was arrested in Bangkok two months prior. Akarakit had no comment pertaining his case as he arrived at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau.
“I’d like to thank all the reporters for coming here to wait for me,” Akarakit stated. “As for other parts, I will testify in court.”
Police officially charged the 30-year-old moto racer with a conspiracy count of money laundering and delivered him to court for a custody hearing on Monday morning. Akarakit was granted bail of 500,000 baht by the court, on the condition that he cannot leave the country without prior permission.
Police claim Akarakit aided an associate of Xaysana cover his assets by claiming ownership of a 20 million baht Lamborghini bought with the drug baron’s dirty money.
Money laundering carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
After Xaysana was arrested in Suvarnabhumi airport in January, police raided the homes of numerous targets and interrogated dozens of suspects said to have connections to Xaysana, whom police describe as the most influential drug kingpin in northeastern Thailand.
Pornchai Charoenwong, director of the anti-narcotics bureau, detailed Akarakit as a “middle-tier suspect” in Xayasana’s network. He disputed Akarakit’s past remarks claiming he was unaware the Lamborghini was part of Xayasana’s drug business.
“The investigators don’t believe that,” Maj. Gen. Pornchai said. “We have reasons to believe it’s a conspiracy to commit money laundering. We have witnesses and evidence.”
Xaysana is being held at Bangkok Remand Prison as he awaits trial. Though a specific date for Xaysana’s indictment was not given, it has been confirmed that police are still preparing a case against him for the prosecutor’s office.
As previously reported by The Laotian Times, Laos has not brought up the issue of extradition and the police major general corroborates that there is no plan to extradite Xaysana.