Thailand’s Fugitive Stark CEO Arrested, Returned From Dubai

The fugitive CEO of Stark Corporation, Chanin Yensudjai, was returned to Thailand from Dubai on Sunday morning by officers from the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), ending a year of evasion to dodge charges of public defrauding in one of Thailand’s largest financial scandals.

DSI personnel traveled to Dubai to retrieve Chanin following his capture by authorities in the United Arab Emirates.

Upon his arrival at Suvarnabhumi International Airport yesterday, he was promptly taken to DSI headquarters for interrogation by Pol Lt-Col Chakkrit Wisetkhetkarn, head of the financial fraud and money laundering investigations.

Chanin is slated for a formal indictment at the Ratchadapisek Criminal Court on Monday.

Chanin ranks among the seven top executives of Stark Corporation, a publicly listed firm in the wire and cable manufacturing sector, accused along with five other companies of public deception through alleged fabrication of financial statements, inflating revenues, and misappropriating company funds.

The additional seven executives include Stark’s primary shareholder Vonnarat Tangkaravakoon, former board member Chinnawat Assavapokee, former chief financial officer Sathar Chantrasettalead, former chief marketing officer Kittisak Jitprasertngam, Sathar’s former secretary Yosabavorn Amarit, and Chanin’s secretary, Nattaya Prabpetch.

The companies implicated in the fraud case are Stark and its subsidiaries, specifically Phelps Dodge International (Thailand), Thai Cable International, Adisorn Songkhla Company, and Asia Pacific Drilling Engineering.

The extensive fraud has reportedly caused financial damages amounting to approximately 14.7 billion baht, impacting over 4,700 shareholders.

Apart from the ongoing criminal trials, civil actions have been initiated against five Stark executives by three shareholders. In March, the Bangkok South Civil Court opted to treat these claims as a class action lawsuit.

The defendants in these civil cases are Vonnarat, Chanin, Chinnawat, Sathar Chantrasettalead, and Kittisak.

Once ranked among Thailand’s top 100 publicly traded companies, Stark encountered severe financial difficulties in March 2022, leading the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to halt trading of its shares due to a missed financial report deadline for the year.

After a three-month trading halt, operations resumed briefly to allow shareholders a chance to sell off their stocks. The stock price at one time plummeted to 0.01 baht.

By June 2022, Stark was excluded from Thailand’s benchmark stock index, triggering extensive sell-offs by index funds.