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Chula asked to axe academic’s status for alleged lottery scam

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VICTIMS of the alleged lottery scam linked to the former chairman of Chulalongkorn University Savings Cooperative, Sawat Saengbangpla, will ask the university council to cancel Sawat’s academic standing and lecturer status.

The 79-year-old Sawat, who allegedly admitted to duping people including fellow lecturers in the bogus investment scheme, apologised to victims but said he could return only about 10 per cent, or Bt50 million to Bt80 million, of the money.
Police say the scam caused Bt540 million in losses to 78 victims, while Sawat claimed the damage totalled only Bt400 million – not Bt1 billion, as several reports have said.
Sa-nga Tangchawal, a lecturer in engineering, said he was not happy that Sawat would only return 10 per cent of the money and believed there should be some way to retrieve more of the stolen cash.
Sawat’s action was a breach of teaching ethics, Sa-nga said, so he and fellow victims would file for the university to cancel his academic standing and lecturer status. He added that Sawat did not seem to be remorseful.
Central Investigation Bureau chief Pol Lt-General Thitirat Nonghanpitak told a press conference yesterday that he would asked the Anti-Money Laundering Office to check Sawat’s assets and transactions to recover the stolen money.
Thitirat said Sawat, who surrendered to face fraud charges at 2am on Monday, confessed to duping people and spending money on gambling and property investments, although police have not found any investments.
However, Sawat said although the lottery scheme was bogus, he had invested money in property and direct-sales businesses but suffered losses, which prevented him from paying promised dividends.
Although admitting to having spent hundreds of thousands of baht gambling in Singapore, Sawat said he had wired Bt62 million to Methawat Khonman, 32, another suspect who has been arrested, to fund her direct-sales business, not for online gambling as the woman told police.
In the afternoon, Sawat was taken to Ratchadapisek Criminal Court as authorities applied for an initial period of detention. Police objected to him being freed on bail on the grounds that the case had inflicted significant losses and he might tamper with evidence.
Over the past seven years, Sawat allegedly convinced people to invest in a scheme to buy and resell lottery tickets by promising that they would realise a high return of 1 per cent a month. When he fell behind in paying dividends and disappeared, victims filed complaints with police accusing him of fraud and resulting in an arrest warrant being issued for him on April 21.
Arrest warrants also were issued for three other people suspected of laundering money – Methawat; Pavisaporn Baiket, 28, who allegedly received Bt42 million from Sawat; and Pavisaporn’s friend Jiratchaya Khunyosying, 32.


Published : May 09, 2017

By : Kampanart Laong The Nation