Police demand answers over Lamborghini purchase

Police demand answers over Lamborghini purchase

Celebrity race driver Akarakit Worarojchroendet talks to reporters after meeting the police at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau on Friday night. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Celebrity race driver Akarakit Worarojchroendet talks to reporters after meeting the police at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau on Friday night. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

Officials are focusing on how speed racer Akarakit Worarojchroendet obtained a 20-million-baht Lamborghini, suspected of being the property of a drug network allegedly operated by arrested Lao drug kingpin Xaysana Keopimpha.

Mr Akarakit, 30, alias Benz Racing, told Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB) officials on Friday night he borrowed 6 million baht in cash from Natthaphol "Boy" Nakkham, one of the suspects linked to Mr Xaysana, as a down payment for the Lamborghini, according to officials.

Sirinya Sitdhichai, secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), said on Satuday Mr Akarakit needs to show proof of the loan by presenting relevant documents.

He insisted it would be unusual if there was no contract signed for a 6-million-baht loan, adding if Mr Akarakit is unable to explain this, police could write to the ONCB to seize the Lamborghini.

Mr Akarakit could be charged with collusion in drug offences, Mr Sirinya said.

Deputy NSB commander Chatri Phaisalsil said Mr Akarakit is in the process of gathering evidence to give a more detailed explanation.

The NSB has coordinated with the ONCB and the Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) to track a money trail of the 6 million baht, he said, adding an investigation will be carried out to determine whether Mr Akarakit really borrowed the money.

Pol Maj Gen Chatri said the NSB is suspicious that Mr Akarakit borrowed money without any collateral. In contrast, Mr Natthaphol had previously borrowed 500,000 baht from Mr Akarakit, but he placed car registration documents and ownership papers of a Volkswagen as collateral.

"Although officials have not brought charges against Mr Akarakit, upon questioning about how he obtained the Lamborghini, it is believed he still hid some information," Pol Maj Gen Chatri said.

As officials questioned Mr Akarakit, his mother and people involved with a shop selling auto accessories named Area 51 in Din Daeng district owned by Mr Akarakit, many aspects of the whole case were unclear, he said.

It was among 15 spots raided on Thursday by law enforcement authorities, who found nothing illegal. The Lamborghini was later found at a garage in the Ram Intra area.

Pol Maj Gen Pornchai Charoenwong, deputy NSB commissioner, said an investigation was under way into who drove the car to the garage and when that happened.

He said the Amlo and ONCB officials will be called for a meeting tomorrow to examine the link between Mr Akarakit and Mr Xaysana's network. It would also be known next week as to whether his wife and TV actress, Napapa "Patt" Tantrakul, would have to be questioned by officers.

Mr Akarakit on Friday night stood by his innocence.

Speaking after a five-hour inquiry at the NSB, Mr Akarakit said he was shocked after learning from news reports that he was involved in a drug network.

He said he gave his statement along with relevant documents to police. He called on the public not to jump to conclusions.

Akarakit Worarojchroendet, alias Benz Racing, meets Narcotics Suppression Bureau police on Friday. (Video by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

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