11 July 2024

Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation (DSI) is considering whether to oppose a decision by the Office of the Prosecutors for Special Cases not to indict a real estate developer charged with money laundering.

The developer, Mr. Anant Asavapokin, was charged by the DSI with money laundering relating to the purchase of a 2.76 hectare plot of land in Khlong Luang district of Pathum Thani province, close to Wat Dhammakaya, from Mr. Supachai Srisupap-aksorn, former president of the Khlong Chan Credit Union Cooperatives.

Supachai, who is currently in jail on fraud charges, along with some other staff, were accused of stealing several billions of baht in deposits belonging to members of the cooperatives, with some of the embezzled money being used to buy the land.

The land was reportedly sold to Mr. Anant for about 93 million baht, but was later re-sold by Mr. Anant, at a huge profit, for 492 million baht.

According to the DSI, Mr. Anant subsequently donated 303 million baht from the sale to a foundation, Khunyai Chan Khon Nok Yoong, which is affiliated with Wat Dhammakaya.

The prosecutors decided to not indict Mr. Anant because they did not consider the purchase of the land in question amounted to money laundering.

The DSI, however, think otherwise, believing that the real estate developer held the land purchased from Mr Supachai on behalf of Phra Dhammachayo, the former abbot of Wat Dhammakaya.

A DSI source said that the DSI chief will decide whether to oppose the prosecutor’s ruling and then submit a letter of objection to the attorney general, who will have the final say on the case.

If the attorney-general upholds the prosecutor’s ruling, then the case is closed. Nonetheless, the DSI still has the option to take the case directly to court, without relying on the services of the public prosecutor.