Owners of eight Benz ‘could owe Bt12m in tax’
DEPARTMENT of Special Investigation (DSI) chief Pol Colonel Paisit Wongmuang yesterday gave an update on the probe into 548 reassembled luxury cars whose importers or owners allegedly sort to evade paying tax.
The officials concluded that importers or owners of eight such vehicles – all Mercedes Benz brands – had dodged tax payments worth Bt3 million. But that could be just the start.
DSI and Customs Department officials will meet soon to assess overdue taxes and fines linked to the criminal proceedings. This could result in a total tax bill reaching Bt12 million.
The move followed a DSI submission for the Customs Department to consider collecting extra tax under the Customs Tariffs Decree from the 236 cars out of the 548 suspect vehicles, each worth Bt4 million and above, Paisit said.
So far, the Customs Department has reported that assessment results of tax due on the eight Benz cars totalled Bt3 million, he said.
But this figure applied only to the civil code, he said. Individuals who imported these cars into the country would also be subjected to criminal code action.
People who violate Article 27 of the Customs Act and the Customs Tariffs Decree’s Article 6 could face a fine of up to four times the vehicle’s price, plus tax and/or up to 10 years in jail.
Chief DSI investigator for the Northeast, Pol Lt-Colonel Kornwat Panprapakorn, said they had probed a group alleged to have illegally imported cars – Sabaijai Jodprakob Co Ltd, S Phothong Ltd Partnership, SRJ Machinery Co, Juste Co and MN Used Autoparts Co Ltd – and found a wealthy businessman with a Thai name, initialled “Kor”, was the alleged mastermind.
He said taxes and fines would be collected from these business operators whilst the individuals who owned the cars would face further investigation on whether they knew and were involved in wrongdoing and could face legal action accordingly.
If they purchased the cars with an honest intent – like others who browse for cars via dealer shops and buy according to the market price, they could be deemed people who had suffered “damage” and would not face criminal charges, he explained.
However, if they bought the cars at suspiciously low prices as part of tax scam, and from places other than normal car dealers, or made false declarations in car registration, they were likely to face charges, he said.
Eight individuals who allegedly own the eight Mercedes were Nimit Pawasutthikul, Nattaya Pholwiset, Jaras Sathongmaew, Manoon Jindajia, Jarudech Boonkhumkhrong, Sirikanya Phankosol, Pongsak Rojanawatchara and Panasit Trithipthikhun.
As for the classic Benz under the name of the acting supreme patriarch, Paisit said investigators and public prosecutors were still awaiting a tax assessment on this vehicle from the Excise Department. The DSI is also probing the case of a Jaguar, possessed by Wat Phai Lom abbot Phra Khru Palad Sitthiwat.