BANGKOK – Lieutenant General Prawut Thavornsiri of Thailand’s Royal Thai Police today said they are hunting for Nopporn Suppipat on of Thailand’s 50 Richest and#31 on Forbes Lists as part of a sprawling graft probe that has rocked the country’s elite.
Nopporn Suppipat an Energy tycoon is the latest high-profile figure to fall foul of the ever-widening corruption scandal, which has already snared several top cops and saw the family of a Thai princess stripped of their honorific title.
“The military court approved his arrest warrant on Monday on charges of lese majeste and illegal detention,” Lieutenant General Prawut Thavornsiri said.
Nopporn Suppipat has an estimated fortune of US$800 million, and is thought to be on the run.
He is alleged to have hired men to abduct a businessman in Bangkok in order to have a debt he owed relieved, the police spokesman added.
US-educated Nopporn, reported to be in his early 40s, is the founder of Wind Energy Holdings, which operates lucrative wind power plants.
“It is likely he has fled Thailand,” the spokesman said, adding police are mulling warrants for two more people over the corruption case
Twenty-two people have been arrested so far in a case that has cast light on graft at the highest echelons of the force as the junta-backed police chief trumpets an apparently fearless anti-corruption crusade.
The graft case exploded at the end of November when three senior officers, including the head of the elite Central Investigation Bureau were arrested on a string of bribery charges.
Some of those detained were also charged with lese majeste, with police saying they had made “false claims” about a royal to justify committing crimes that allegedly ranged from running illegal casinos to oil smuggling, kidnapping and extortion.