Three Russians arrested after ‘stealing painting worth $1.5m in Thailand’


Three Russian tourists were arrested after they allegedly stole a painting worth more than 50 million baht (1.5 million USD) in Thailand.

Oleg Taraknoc, 51, Maxim Sukharev, 33, Alena Zakharoca, 33, were arrested by immigration police at an alleged hiding place in Phuket island on September 8.

The trio allegedly assaulted a wealthy Swiss man and stole his painting in Chonburi province in November 2020 when they were initially arrested but later released on bail before fleeing to the south.

Police said the Russians will now be transferred to investigating officers to face charges of robbery while cops are working on prosecuting their fourth accomplice known as Alexei, 19, who allegedly fled the country before the arrest.

Major General Phanthana Nuchanart said: ‘The suspects together attacked the Swiss man before running away with the painting.

‘They were then arrested but were then released on bail. They later escaped to Phuket and have now been arrested again.’

The Swiss man allegedly agreed to sell the painting to the Russians but due to a misunderstanding, the deal was cancelled and the group allegedly fled with the artwork.

However, the Russian tourists denied the allegations and insisted that they bought the painting legally. Investigations on the incident are still ongoing.