Washington: Dinesh Chawla, an Indian-origin hotelier who previously partnered with President Donald Trump’s family on four hotels, has been arrested on charges of stealing luggage from an airport in the US.

Chawla, the CEO of Chawla Hotels, was seen taking luggage from the baggage claim at Memphis International Airport last weekend. Police say he put the stolen suitcase in his car and went back inside the airport to catch a flight.

The airport police said they searched the car and discovered the suitcase and another piece of luggage that had been taken from the airport a month earlier, The New York Times reported.

Chawla was arrested when he returned to Memphis and admitted to stealing the two bags and their contents, valued at about $4,000, according to a police affidavit.

He confessed to stealing luggage “over a long period of time”, the report said but it provided no details of other thefts.

Chawla told an officer that he knows stealing luggage is wrong, but he does it for the thrill and excitement, the report said.

Chawla and his brother Suresh Chawla operate a chain of hotels and motels in the Delta and are constructing a luxury hotel in Cleveland, an undertaking that until February was a joint venture with the Trump Organisation.

The Trump brothers, Donald Trump Jr and Eric, withdrew from the undertaking in February, saying that “harassment” from Democrats had led them to that decision, but praising the Chawlas.

The relations between the Trumps and the Chawlas began in 1988 when the Indian-origin brothers’ father, V K Chawla, reached out to Donald Trump Sr for help starting a motel in Greenwood. Trump called the elder Chawla and suggested that he apply for a minority Small Business Administration loan, which he did successfully.