PM warned not to interfere in Philip Morris court case

Pheu Thai party core member Chalerm Yubamrung has warned Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to stay clear of the ongoing court case between the Thai public prosecutor and Philip Morris, a giant US-based cigarette manufacturer, or he might end up in prison.

The maverick veteran politician claimed that, on May 10th, Foreign Minister Don Pramudvinai sent a letter to the Prime Minister urging him to exercise his executive power to end the court case in which the prosecutor has demanded 68 billion baht from the cigarette producer for alleged tax evasion.

Chalerm said that Foreign Minister Don did not have any understanding of legal matters and his move could place the Prime Minister in jeopardy, adding that the Prime Minister could be accused of interfering with judicial affairs.

He also warned that he would raise the issue in parliament if the Prime Minister acts in response to the foreign minister’s recommendation.

The case dates back to 2006, after the Department of Special Investigation looked into alleged tax evasion by Philip Morris between 2003 and 2007. The Office of the Attorney-General decided to file a lawsuit against Philip Morris and 12 company officials in Thailand in 2016, demanding 68 billion baht in compensation for alleged tax evasion.

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