Panthongtae acquitted of money laundering charge
The Criminal Court for Corruption Cases today acquitted the son of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Panthongtae, of charges of money laundering involving a 10-million baht cheque, transferred to his bank account over 15 years ago by Mr Vichai Krisdathanon, then a top executive of the Krisdamahanakorn real estate group.
The court ruled that the prosecution evidence was not sufficient to prove that Mr. Panthongtae, who was then only 26 years old, was aware that the check transferred to his bank account was part of a large illegal loan granted to the company by the state-run Krung Thai Bank.
The court also pointed out that the defendant then had earnings from the shares he owned in several companies, estimated at about 4 billion baht, adding that the 10 million baht cheque amounted to just 0.0025% of Panthongtae’s earnings at that time.
Mr. Vichai, 80, and his son, Ratthapa, who transferred the check to Panthongtae on behalf of his father, along with several other executives of the company and the Krung Thai Bank, were earlier sentenced to heavy jail terms, by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders, in connection with more than 10 billion baht in loans extended to Krisdamahanakorn real estate group by the bank during the government of prime minister Thaksin.
During the trial, Panthongtae claimed the 10 million baht cheque was part of a seed fund from Mr. Ratthapa for a joint investment in the import of super cars for sale.