THE ANTI-MONEY Laundering Office (AMLO) committee has resolved to temporarily seize assets worth more than Bt200 million in relation to three key cases, AMLO acting secretary-general Pol Maj-General Rommasit Viriyasant revealed yesterday.
On Tuesday, the AMLO committee resolved to seize 97 assets worth Bt213.300 million over the 2011-16 tax fraud charges filed against businessman Thongchai Rojrungrangsi and other business associates in the zero-dollar tour scandal, he said.
The case against Thongchai and associates, including AO Transport Co, came up as part of the Thai authorities’ crackdown on tour operators who reportedly offered Chinese visitors free or very low-cost hotel and flight packages to Thailand but then lured them into buying overpriced souvenirs during the trips.
The committee also resolved to seize three assets worth Bt81,000 in the methamphetamine possession case involving a 27-year-old suspect Bancha Surin and others, who were arrested in Chiang Mai in 2015. Their arrests had led to the police discovery that Bancha’s father, Somjit, was also allegedly dealing with drugs in the North from 2001-14, Rommasit said.
In a case of human trafficking involving the prostitution of Myanmar girls under 18 filed against Bangkok-based Nataree Entertainment massage parlour owner Prasert “Ko Luck” Sukkhee, 58, the AMLO committee resolved to seize 48 assets. The AMLO has also sent a request to the court for the state to appropriate three items worth Bt1 million.
In addition, the AMLO committee agreed to request court orders for the state to appropriate 80 assets worth Bt31 million from six other cases.
The AMLO generally would seize assets temporarily during a case investigation for inspection, allowing suspects or their associates to provide explanations about asset origins within a given period of time. After a ruling by the court in the cases, it proceeds with a request for the state to appropriate the assets.
In the cases of assets that are expensive to maintain, perishable, or depreciating that pose a potential burden to the state, AMLO may opt to hold auctions to sell them off.