Thailand’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CIB) told CNN on Tuesday that Kampee Kampeerayannon, CEO of a company called SkyMed and a former high-ranking officer in the Thai air force, had been detained after a judge issued a warrant. . According to the Thai police, he faces charges of public fraud and distribution of false information by computer.
Police say Kampee has denied all the charges against him. CNN is seeking comment from Kampee’s legal representation.
At a press conference on Wednesday, the CIB said that the CEO of Skymed’s parent company, Sufficiency Economy City Co. Ltd, had been arrested in Bangkok on Tuesday, without naming Kampee.
“We are encouraging damaged parties to come forward and give us information. There are criminals who are exploiting the extremely high demand for medical supplies and trying to mislead people while they are desperate,” said CIB chief Jirabhob Bhuridej, at the press conference. . “This is detrimental to legitimate Thailand-based producers of medical supplies.”
The CIB had previously told CNN that it is working closely with the FBI on the SkyMed investigation in response to a complaint from a US customer.
The CIB now says that the US customer had 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% down payment, not a single pair of gloves has been delivered to the American customer.
“The Thai government is taking this matter seriously and we are making sure to bring justice to the damaged parts,” Jirabhob said last week after an extensive CNN investigation was released.
CNN previously reported that Tarek Kirschen, a Miami-based businessman, had ordered about $ 2 million worth of gloves from a company called Paddy the Room late last year. The gloves that arrived were branded SkyMed. Kirschen told CNN that the supposedly medical-grade gloves were dirty, bloodstained, and had been washed and reused.
In December last year, Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration raided a Paddy the Room warehouse where migrant workers packed loose gloves in SkyMed-branded boxes.
“Any glove below standard could be from China, Vietnam or Malaysia. They would bring these gloves in bulk and they would not declare them medical gloves. Then these gloves would be repackaged as SkyMed and all documents would be handled and shipped to the third country.” Thai FDA Under Secretary General Supattra Boonserm told CNN in a recent interview.
Last week, in a lengthy on-camera interview with CNN, Kampee denied that his company was part of any repackaging operations that occurred at the warehouse when he was raided.
“The owner of the warehouse, he 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.
Thai FDA’s Supattra told CNN that SkyMed had an import license to bring medical gloves made in Vietnam, but records show that SkyMed never imported medical gloves into Thailand, nor does the company make its own gloves.
After giving CNN conflicting answers about the number of glove suppliers it has in Thailand, Kampee finally said there were none.
Kampee also claimed that SkyMed has 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 its port personnel that Sufficiency Economy City Co. Ltd. shipments should be subject to detention without physical examination.
On Friday, the FDA said it was “investigating certain imported medical gloves that appear to have been reprocessed, cleaned or recycled and sold as new,” and asked US healthcare providers to report any problems with medical gloves.
The US Department of Homeland Security is also investigating.