Thai police arrest Italian wanted for human trafficking

Featured South East Asia - May 24th, 2013

Thai authorities have captured an Italian man wanted over suspected links to a human trafficking ring which defrauded $10 million from tax authorities and banks in his home country.

Stefano Raccagni, 38, was arrested on Tuesday in the northern city of Chiang Mai, where he has been living with his Thai girlfriend since 2009.

The Italian embassy has accused Raccagni of being a core member of a Milan-based gang that smuggled people into the country to defraud money from European taxpayers and banks, reports AFP.

A police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said that around $10 million was found in his bank account and that he had said he runs a small loans business in Chiang Mai. Raccagni will be extradited soon, authorities added.

Thailand has become a prime destinations for criminals on the run from authorities in their own countries. On Thursday, immigration authorities said they arrested a French woman, accused of embezzling $1.3 million, on the tourist island of Samui.

In March last year, Vito Roberto Palazzolo, a leading member of the Cosa Nostra Sicilian mafia, was arrested in Thailand after investigators tracked him down through Facebook.