Appeal Court clears Amaret's imprisonment term

business June 17, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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The Appeal Court has reversed the lower court's ruling against Amaret Sila-on, now 81, former chairman of the dissolved Financial Sector Restructuring Authority (FRA).

Vicharat Vichit-vadakan, 67, former secretary general of the authority, was also cleared. 
On September 17, 2012, the Civil Court handed both of them a two-year imprisonment term, with 3 years in suspension. The court perceived that for his negligence when overseeing the FRA, set up as a bad bank following the financial crisis, Amaret was also ordered to provide 24-hour public services.
The Civil Court then ruled that Amaret, 79, failed to follow through the procedure. Under his guidance, the FRA did not press for the payment of Bt2.3 billion from Lehman Brothers, for bad loans formerly belonging to 56 financially-ailing finance companies.
The FRA was set up to handle the 56 defunct finance companies’ assets sale. The 56 companies were foreclosed in the aftermath of the 1997 financial crisis. Their assets worth over Bt1 trillion were then put on sale. 
Amaret and Vicharat appealed the court's decision, insisting that their actions were not meant to benefit any particular party or cause damage to any party. 
Leaving the court room, Amaret wore a big smile. He told reporters that his job did not cause damage to any company, as the assets on sale were of no value then. 
Asked if this court case is politically influenced, he told them to ask politicians. He insisted that he had completed his job without any political order.
"What pleases me is from now on, all doing good deeds for the public would not be punished. We did a good thing but faced a revenge. Whether this was politically driven, you'd better ask politicians. I was just an executor," he said.