FRIDAY, March 01, 2024

DSI deploys money laundering law to bust billion-baht pork smuggling ring

DSI deploys money laundering law to bust billion-baht pork smuggling ring

The new chief of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) on Friday told investigators to deploy the anti-money laundering law to break up a multibillion-baht pork smuggling ring.

DSI’s acting director-general Yuthana Praedam ordered his staff to work with the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) on criminal and civil action against illegal importers, said a source familiar with the matter.

On Friday, the DSI questioned two more companies in its probe on the smuggling of frozen pork worth 117 million baht into the country in 41 shipping containers.

Boriboon Laorpaksin, director of Sikhantin Trading and Smile Top K Enterprise, met with chief investigator Nattaporn Ditsayatham at DSI headquarters.

The companies are charged with violating customs and animal epidemic laws. Boriboon denied the charges and asked to submit written testimony later.

Sikhantin is registered as an animal feed distributor while Smile Top K is an importer and distributor of frozen foods. Both companies share the same address in Lopburi province’s Ban Mi district.

Another eight companies, 10 shipping firms, and six people are being investigated as part of the DSI probe.

Yuthana was appointed acting DSI chief to replace Suriya Singhakamol, who was transferred to the post of Justice Ministry deputy permanent secretary on Tuesday without explanation.

The transfer came one day after Suriya led a DSI raid on premises owned by Makro, a subsidiary of CP Group.

DSI deploys money laundering law to bust billion-baht pork smuggling ring

Makro’s operator, CP Axtra Plc, has informed the Stock Exchange of Thailand that the company was not involved with illegal frozen pork imports.

The company’s statement followed a search by DSI officials at its head office on November 27, after Makro was linked to 161 containers of frozen pork impounded at Laem Chabang port since September.

“The company maintains that products available for sale at all Makro branches meet the legal requirements. The company condones no illegal activities and adheres to corporate good governance,” the statement said.

Smugglers have shipped in 2,385 containers of illegal pork worth about 3 billion baht since 2020, according to the DSI. The racket has been blamed for suppressing the local pork industry and prices while raising the risk of disease.