The operation on Tuesday was launched by units of the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) and the Hanuman task force in liaison with the US Department of Homeland Security. The two men, a 37-year-old and 39 year old, were implicated in sheltering illegal aliens and running an illegal employment racket in Florida from 2007 and 2021 which turned over ฿2.5 billion while failing to pay taxes due.
Thai police have announced the arrest of two Ukrainian nationals at a villa in Phuket who are wanted in the United States in respect of outstanding taxes and criminal charges concerning the operation of a recruitment racket that supplied labour to the hospitality industry in Florida and which generated at least ฿337 million or $9.95 million in tax arrears over a 14 year period.
Elite Thai forces including officers of the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) and the armed Hanuman Special Operation unit took part in the arrest of two Ukrainian nationals in Phuket on Tuesday, April 19th in a coordinated operation with the US Department of Homeland Security.
37-year-old Oleksandr Yersit and 39-year-old Oleg Olynyk were detained at a luxury villa in Phuket on foot of Criminal Court arrest warrants issued in Thailand on April 11th.
Wanted in the United States for tax evasion
The men are wanted in the United States for tax evasion linked to the operation of several employment agencies which they fronted in the southern US coastal state of Florida from 2007 up to last year.
It is understood, based on briefings from US police agencies including Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) representative Eric Mc Laughlin, who took part in the raid on the villa, that the suspects failed to pay tax and associated contributions on income generated by their businesses during those years and subsequently fled to Thailand.
Warrants issued in respect of charges in the United States related to the shelter of illegal immigrants
The alleged offences against the two men include sheltering illegal aliens and money laundering in the operation of the racket which placed staff in hospitality businesses including hotels, bars and restaurants across the state over the course of 14 years.
The men are accused of colluding in acts to provide shelter to illegal aliens who had entered the United States without proper clearance.
The extent of the amounts involved, stated in the warrants and briefings given by top police officers including Police Lieutenant General Jiraphop Phuridech of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) and Police Major General Montri Khetkhan of the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) specified a turnover of ฿2.5 billion on which taxes had not been paid amounting to ฿337 million.
Operated a number of US corporations and acted as senior executives of the firms which hired out staff
The men are understood to have acted as the owners and senior executives of several recruitment agencies that employed hundreds of people, many of them immigrants who were working illegally in the United States.
US police agencies asked the Royal Thai Police to assist in tracking down the men after they fled the United States last year.
On Tuesday, the two men communicated with arresting police via an interpreter who was at the scene and who spoke to them after they were handcuffed.
They admitted they were the two men who were the subject of the arrest warrants but denied any wrongdoing saying they would fight the case in court.
Face extradition to the US where the two men say they will contest the charges against them in court
It is expected that the men will be extradited to the United States in due course after being taken into custody last Tuesday.
Police Lieutenant General Jiraphop told reporters that the two suspects were tracked down after a case was opened by the Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit (TCIU).
He said the men had entered Thailand last year as tourists and had lived at the same villa since then.
As well as an arrest warrant for the pair, police also executed a search warrant on Tuesday in respect of the premises.