Thailand’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CIB) told CNN on Tuesday that Kampee Kampeerayannon, CEO of a company called SkyMed and a former senior Thai Air Force officer, was arrested after a judge issued a warrant. According to Thai police, he faces charges of public fraud and spreading false information by computer.
Police say Kampee has denied all charges against him. CNN is seeking comments from Kampee’s legal representation.
At a press conference on Wednesday, CIB said the CEO of Skymed’s parent company, Sufficiency Economy City Co. Ltd, was arrested in Bangkok on Tuesday, without naming Kampee.
“We encourage all aggrieved parties to come forward and give us information. There are criminals who are exploiting the situation of the extremely high demand for medical supplies and trying to deceive people while they are in despair,” said the head of the CIB, Jirabhob Bhuridej, at the press conference. . “This is detrimental to legitimate producers of medical supplies based in Thailand.”
CIB previously told CNN that it was working closely with the FBI on the SkyMed investigation in response to a complaint from a US client.
CIB now says the US customer paid $ 6.2 million for 2 million boxes of SkyMed gloves. But since the money was transferred to the company in December 2020 as a 40% deposit, not a single pair of gloves has ever been delivered to the US customer.
“The Thai government takes this issue seriously and we are working to bring justice to the aggrieved parties,” Jirabhob said last week after the publication of a lengthy investigation on CNN.
CNN previously reported that Miami-based businessman Tarek Kirschen ordered around $ 2 million worth of gloves from a company called Paddy the Room late last year. The gloves that arrived were SkyMed brand. Kirschen told CNN that the allegedly medical-grade gloves were dirty, stained with blood, and had been washed and reused.
In December last year, the Thai Food and Drug Administration raided a warehouse in Paddy the Room where migrant workers were packing loose gloves in boxes bearing the SkyMed mark.
“Any lower quality gloves could be from China, Vietnam, or Malaysia. They would bring these gloves in bulk and not declare them as medical gloves. Then those gloves would be repackaged under the name SkyMed and all the documents would be forged and sent to the third country, “Thai FDA Deputy Secretary General Supattra Boonserm told CNN.
Last week, in a lengthy on-camera interview with CNN, Kampee denied that his company was part of a repackaging operation taking place in the warehouse during a raid.
“The warehouse owner, they just wanted to repackage our brand and export it,” he said.
Kampee said that if gloves are exported from Thailand under the SkyMed brand, it is “not under our permission,” he told CNN.
Supattra, of the Thai FDA, told CNN that SkyMed had an import license to import medical gloves made in Vietnam, but records show SkyMed never imported medical gloves into Thailand and the company does not manufacture not his own gloves.
After giving CNN conflicting answers on how many glove suppliers it has in Thailand, Kampee ultimately said there were none.
Kampee also claimed that SkyMed had fulfilled orders for 100 million boxes of gloves but did not say who bought them.
In August, the US FDA sent an alert to all of its port staff indicating that shipments from Sufficiency Economy City Co. Ltd. should be detained without physical examination.
The FDA said on Friday it was “investigating certain imported medical gloves that appear to have been reprocessed, cleaned or recycled and sold as new,” and called on U.S. healthcare providers to report any problems with the medical gloves.
The US Department of Homeland Security is also investigating.