American arrested for violating Foreign Business Act in Thailand

An American citizen was apprehended by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) for violating the Foreign Business Act. The arrest occurred following allegations of illegal profit redirection from a luxury villa estate developer.

The individual in question, referred to as David, was taken into custody at the entrance of Jomtien Hospital in Chon Buri, around 11am last Thursday, as per the DSI’s report. The 58 year old had been sought under an arrest warrant issued by the Criminal Court on December 19, 2023.

The charges against the American for his failure to prevent a violation of the Foreign Business Act, B.E. 2542, as a partner director or authorised person acting on behalf of a juristic person. This case involves a legal consulting firm operating in Surat Thani and Phuket, under British national Markus and American national Paul.

The DSI report elaborated that as executives, the men facilitated a Thai employee to act as a camouflage agent to establish Sunny Shores Property Co Ltd. This company then owned shares in various Surat Thani and Phuket companies.

The report further detailed the violation.

“When foreigners come to buy land, those companies holding it will sell or sell their own shares or close the original company to allow foreign customers to take over and continue to occupy it.”

Consequently, the profits from the land sales would benefit the above-mentioned foreigners.

David was an authorised director and representative of Leaf Lucky Co Ltd and was associated with those purchasing land from an unnamed luxury real estate development. The report further clarified that, “Such circumstances were, therefore, a business of buying and selling real estate, which is a business that does not allow foreigners to operate.”

American arrested for violating Foreign Business Act in Thailand | News by Thaiger
Picture of the American man known as David (second left), courtesy of Phuket News

The DSI confirmed that David had fled and was subsequently arrested after investigators requested a court-issued arrest warrant. The arrest was carried out in line with the orders of DSI Deputy Director-General Police Lieutenant Colonel Yutthana Praedam, who currently serves as the Acting Director-General of DSI, reported Phuket News.

It is worth noting that the arrest coincided with Lt. Col. Yutthana’s visit to Phuket to investigate an elephant park run by Swiss expat Urs Fehr and his wife, Khanuengnit. However, the unnamed luxury property development, despite its properties being implicated in the illegal profit diversion, has not been clarified as being sought for any wrongdoing by the DSI report.

Crime NewsPhuket News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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