Tycoon, wife and close aide deny African-ivory charges
PREMCHAI KARNASUTA, the embattled CEO of the Italian-Thai Development company, accompanied by his wife Kanitha and her close aide Wandee Sompoom, reported to a judge at Bangkok’s Ratchadapisek Criminal Court yesterday morning to deny a charge of illegal possession of African ivory tusks.
Premchai allowed to travel overseas
All three denied any wrongdoing and were released on bail of Bt300,000 each. Premchai, who is nominally barred from travelling overseas, sought and received permission from the court to make a two-day business trip to India on May 10-11.
“I have denied all charges,” Premchai said after the appearance. “I admit I am now worried.”
The court arranged for a further review of evidence and witnesses to be held on June 25 at 1.30pm regarding the possession of illegal ivory.
The ivory tusks were seized from Premchai’s house in Bangkok along with 43 guns, after an investigation stemming from his arrest in early February in a Kanchanaburi wildlife sanctuary.
Premchai also faces seven charges related to poaching in the sanctuary, after his group were found with the carcass of a black leopard and other dead animals.
Kanitha was identified as the person who had registered the ivory – which was later deemed to be tusks taken from African elephants – with the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation. Wandee is accused of countersigning the registration application as a witness, to falsely verify that the tusks were from local elephants.