Thanathorn defends himself in Constitutional Court
Future Forward party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit told the Constitutional Court today that he is determined to pursue his political career free from conflicts of interest, so he will not suffer the same fate as fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
He also said that he wanted democracy to be restored in Thailand and to see changes in the Thai society “otherwise it cannot move forward”.
“If the court’s judgement is in my favour, I will immediately establish a blind trust, because I want to adopt the standards of western politicians when avoiding conflicts of interest,” Thanathorn told the Court, as he was questioned in the case in which he is accused of holding shares in a media firm, V Luck Media, when he registered his election candidacy for the March 24 election, in violation of the Election Law and the Constitution. Nine other witnesses, including his family members, lawyers, driver and two employees, were also due to be questioned by the court today.
The embattled Future Forward party leader told the court that he had never been involved in managing V Luck Media Company or any transactions involving the company, insisting that he was just a shareholder.
He bought 675,000 V Luck Media shares at par value in 2008, but could not remember from whom he purchased them, adding it could have been his mother, Mrs. Somporn. He also claimed he could not recall when he made the decision to transfer of all the shares to his mother on January 8 this year.
He said he had two appointments on January 8, election campaigning in the north-eastern province of Buri Ram and signing of share transfer documents in Bangkok, adding that it was normal to have several appointments each day as his family has many companies.
He explained that he took a car back to Bangkok from Buri Ram with his driver, instead of flying back, because the travelling times were similar and he wanted to avoid meeting people on the plane.
Thanathorn told the court he didn’t know when the 6 million baht cheque, from the sale of his media shares, was cashed because he assigned his wife to manage the family’s finances. When asked why the cheque was cashed in May, several months after it was received, he said probably because his family had no immediate need for the money.
Asked by a judge why he had chosen two Thai Summit employees as witnesses, he said they had been with the firm for more than ten years and he knew them. Then he retorted: “Or you want me to invite those I don’t known to be my witness?” Asked why he didn’t name his driver, Mr. Chaisith, as a witness during the investigation by the Election Commission, Thanathorn admitted he didn’t know how to respond to that question.
Thanathorn said that, in his 41 years, this was the first time that he had appeared in a court.
Asked by a judge about when he registered the dissolution of V Luck Media, he snapped “How many times do I have to repeat that I cannot remember?”