'Protest financiers' list brings angry denials, includes deceased executive

national February 13, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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SAHA PATHANAPIBUL chief executive officer Boonchai Chokwatana denied yesterday that he helped fund the anti-government movement led by the People's Democratic Reform Committee.

He said those who included him on a list of alleged protest financiers intended to intimidate him.
In an interview with Spring News, Boonchai said he learnt about the accusation two weeks ago.
“I am not surprised nor frightened because I did not do it. They blindly put my name on the list. They [the PDRC] just buy my goods. Is that called funding the protest?” he said.
He said a well-wisher called him and told him about the accusation. He had never contacted the government or anyone else to inquire about the matter, nor had money been extorted from him.
“Sahapat is a politically neutral company and we have never been involved in shady deals nor depended on politicians. The PDRC has never asked us for any help,” he said.
“I guess they [his accusers] do all this only to intimidate us against funding the protesters. This tactic could be the government’s self-destruction because by doing this Suthep [Thaugsuban, the PDRC leader] will win more supporters. People who don’t want to help protesters but are blamed would now want to side with the protesters. They [the government] should find political allies and not act [imperiously],” he said.
CMPO director and caretaker Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung said he was not perturbed by reports that Saha Pathanapibul and the Charoen Pokphand Group – also reportedly named in the list – could sue him. 
Also on the list of over 50 suspects produced by the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) is the name of the deceased co-founder of Red Bull, Chaleo Yoovidhya.
Chalerm responded also to reports that the CMPO had erred by including the late Chaleo Yoovidhya, co-founder of energy-drink giant Red Bull, on the suspect list, saying he knew that Chaleo had died.
Chalerm denied reports that the Pheu Thai Party stopped him from revealing the names of protest financiers, saying no one could stop him because the PM had given him the authority to make the decision. He also dismissed reports he would be sacked as CMPO director.
Meanwhile, Anti-Money Laundering Office secretary-general Pol Colonel Sihanart Prayoonrat said the CMPO would today reveal the names of 58 suspects and three others allegedly funding the anti-government movement.
Sihanart said however the revelation could be delayed to not later than next Monday. He said of 136 names, 58 people had been charged over funding the PDRC protest. Three others had not been charged but police had solid evidence they had helped finance the ongoing protest.
Department of Special Investigation (DSI) chief Tarit Pengdith said the CMPO had not leaked the names of suspects to any group but admitted that some names appearing in the media matched the names on the CMPO list.

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