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Thai police arrest suspect wanted by FBI


By Naewna and Theloadstar.com

CRIME Suppression Division (CSD) police arrested a German-American man on the charges of conspiracy to defraud through electronic media and money laundering at his condo in Ladprao Soi 10, Chatuchak district, today (Apr. 14), Naewna newspaper said.

CSD Commander Pol.Lt.Gen. Montree Thetkhan led a team to arrest the suspect wanted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on the charges of defrauding a transport company in the US in almost every aspect of its operation for over 10 years leading to US$52 million in damage.

The suspect, who was only identified as Lars, 48, and was a senior executive of this company, was arrested under a  Criminal Court warrant issued on April 9, 2023.

The FBI had been able to arrest nine other suspects hiding in various locations across the US with Lars being the only one remaining as he had fled to Thailand.

CSD was alerted and this led to the suspect’s arrest today.

Upon being questioned Lars admitted he was the man named in the arrest warrant and is ready to be extradited to face legal action in the US.

According to a report published by Theloadstar.com, former Polar Air Cargo COO Lars Winkelbauer has been arrested and charged, along with nine others, with defrauding the all-cargo carrier of an estimated $52m.

Winkelbauer was arrested in Thailand and will be extradited to the US, while the nine other accused were rounded up by US federal law enforcement officers on Wednesday, after the US Department of Justice concluded it had sufficient evidence to move the case forward.

US attorney for the southern district of New York Damian Williams said: “Each defendant now faces substantial prison time for their alleged crimes.

“The defendants, all of whom were either employed in high-level positions by Polar, or were vendors reliant on business arrangements with Polar, allegedly showed a blatant disregard for the integrity of their companies in favour of lining their own pockets.”

There are allegations that executives took bribes for ensuring vendors, who also had undisclosed interests, received favourable business arrangements with the carrier between 2009 and 2021.

The DOJ said the alleged scheme “tainted” nearly every aspect of the carrier’s operations and “corrupted” its relationships with GSAs, forwarders and other vendors, including those providing ground handling and trucking services.

FBI assistant director Michael Driscoll said: “The indictments serve as a reminder to any unscrupulous actors attempting complex frauds – the FBI will hold you accountable.”

Winkelbauer and the other executives are said to have concealed the crime from Polar by directing payments into a series of limited liability companies, but the scheme collapsed in 2021 after the carrier discovered evidence of the agreements, shortly thereafter terminating their employment.

All 10 defendants have been charged with single counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, honest services wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, each charge carrying maximum possible sentences of 20 years in prison.


The suspect being arrested at his condo in Ladprao Soi 10 today. Photos: Naewna

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