Thai senator faces lawsuit for alleged money laundering

Photo courtesy of Thai PBS World

Senator Upakit Pachariyangkun is facing charges after public prosecutors filed a lawsuit against him today, December 14.

The Thai politician has been accused of money laundering and aiding a transnational criminal organisation. This legal action follows the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) decision to indict Upakit on charges of money laundering, involvement in a transnational criminal organisation, and alleged support or collusion in an illicit drug network.

Upakit was linked with Myanmar national, Tun Min Latt, who was apprehended for drug trafficking and money laundering in September of the previous year. The senator arrived at the Criminal Court today, accompanied by his lawyer, and wearing a face mask and sunglasses for the hearing.

OAG spokesperson, Prayut Phetkhun, revealed that the suit filed against Upakit includes six offences. These encompass illicit drug collusion, unlawful possession of Category 2 drugs (ketamine), money laundering, involvement in a transnational crime organisation, and related offences. Upakit, however, has denied all charges.

The court accepted the case and has scheduled an examination of evidence for May 13 next year, according to Prayut.

Earlier this year, the 61 year old senator conducted a press conference to counter allegations made by Move Forward Party MP Rangsiman Rome, who linked him to the Myanmar drug suspect. Upakit denied laundering money from the drug trade through an electricity supply business operating on the Thai-Myanmar border, reported Bangkok Post.

The OAG established an investigation team, led by senior public prosecutor Watcharin Phanurat, to probe Upakit’s case. The findings from the panel were submitted to the prosecutors in charge of narcotics cases, who then forwarded the investigation report to the OAG, resulting in the decision to indict the senator.

Last month, the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) seized assets of Upakit worth 285 million baht in connection with his alleged involvement in a drug ring and money laundering. In a subsequent operation on November 30, the ONCB seized more assets worth 476.6 million baht from the senator for examination.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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