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AMLO swoops on 'VAT cheats', seizes assets

Agents from the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) conducted simultaneous raids at four locations yesterday in Bangkok in a move to seize assets allegedly acquired by cheating the country of up to Bt4 billion worth of value-added tax.

Among the assets subject to seizure were the Hill Pak Chong hotel in Nakhon Ratchatsima worth Bt100 million, three luxury cars and cash in many bank accounts totalling Bt50 million, AMLO secretary-general Seehanart Prayoonrat said. He added that assets worth around Bt132 million had been confiscated from three individuals on two previous occasions.

The locations raided yesterday included a house in Lak Si district owned by three women identified as Phatcharee, Nutchanart and Namthip Sirichote, who allegedly helped a man called Weerayuth sae-Loke get away with not paying VAT. The three other locations were a house in Bang Yai in Nonthaburi, a condominium near Sathorn Rd in Bangkok and the hotel in Nakhon Ratchasima.

No charges had been pressed against the women as of yesterday.

Seehanart said there might be other people and officials involved in the VAT cheating scheme. After the raids yesterday, AMLO agents confiscated two safes found at the Lak Si home, after Phatcharee refused to give the officers codes to open the safes.


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