Saturday, December 14, 2019

Jail for ‘Benz Racing’ as bail denied in money laundering case tied to drugs

May 29. 2017
Actress Napapa “Patt” Tantrakul, carrying her newborn babyboy, talks with lawyer Sitthichok Trinet at Bangkok's Ratchadapisek Criminal Court, after the bail application for her motorcycle racer husband Akarakit “Benz Racing” was rejected on Monday.
Actress Napapa “Patt” Tantrakul, carrying her newborn babyboy, talks with lawyer Sitthichok Trinet at Bangkok's Ratchadapisek Criminal Court, after the bail application for her motorcycle racer husband Akarakit “Benz Racing” was rejected on Monday.
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By THE NATION

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MOTORCYCLE RACER Akarakit “Benz Racing” Worarojcharoendet was jailed on Monday after a judge rejected his Bt3-million bail application.

The 30-year-old Akarakit, who formally pleaded not guilty to money laundering earlier in the day, was denied bail on the grounds that the charges he faced carried heavy penalties and he could have posed a flight risk. Prosecutors had opposed his temporary release. 

Akarakit was then sent to the central remand prison where he will remain for the duration of his trial unless a new bail request is approved.

On Friday, prosecutors indicted Akarakit, Sansern Rasanont, 25, and Angsuporn Inna, 29, for allegedly laundering drug money and conspiring to launder money on behalf of accused Lao drug kingpin Xaysana Keopimpa. 

The three also face charges under the Measures for Suppression of Narcotic Offenders Act of abetting drug-related offences and accepting assets in return. 

Before entering the courtroom, Akarakit told reporters that he had nothing to do with drug trafficking and intended to clear his name regarding the money transactions while his lawyer, Sitthichok Trinet, said he was prepared to post Bt3 million in cash as bail.

In the months since the allegations emerged, Akarakit had never been held in custody. He remained free through seven detention periods prior to the indictment on Bt500,000 bail and on condition that he did not leave the country without court permission.

Akarakit, Sansern and Angsuporn are accused of collusion to accept money transactions on 53 occasions, for a total amount of Bt11 million, connected to Natthapol Nakkham, another suspect in Xaysana’s alleged network who has already been arrested, between December 29, 2014 and February 1 this year. 

Akarakit also wired Bt1.9 million to his wife, actress Napapa “Patt” Tantrakul, resulting in her being charged by Narcotics Suppression Bureau investigators for conspiracy to launder money. 

Akarakit caught the attention of authorities because of a Bt20-million Lamborghini in his possession that was linked to Natthapol. 

Akarakit claimed he had borrowed Bt6 million from Natthapol for the down payment on the Lamborghini.

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