Pradit denies part in embezzlement or temple scandal
Prominent Businessman Pradit Phataraprasit has denied any involvement in alleged embezzlement or the scandal-hit Dhammakaya Temple after records show he bought a land plot from a suspected money launderer.
The suspect is an internationally-recognised businessman, Anant Asavabhokhin, who is now the chairman of Land and Houses.
“I bought the land plot from him at Bt492 million in 2011 for a business reason,” Pradit said on Friday. “I don’t know what he has done with money from the sale.”
According to the Department of Special Investigation, Supachai Srisupa-arksorn, the former chairman of Klongchan Credit Union Cooperative (KCUC), diverted Bt275 million from the cooperative to acquire M-Home SPV 2 Co, whose assets included several land plots in Klong Luang district, Pathum Thani province.
One of the land plots, measuring about 46 rai (7.4 hectares), was sold under a contract in 2011 to Anant for Bt93.7 million, far below the official appraised price of Bt281 million.
Anant later sold the land plot to Pradit, and then allegedly donated Bt303 million to Dhammakaya Temple’s Khun Yay Maha Ratana Upasika Chandra Khonnokyoong Foundation.
Supachai is now serving a jail term for embezzling money from the KCUC.
“If the DSI wants to summon me, I am ready. I have also bought land plots in the nearby area in 2015 to restrict business competitors,” said Pradit, who is a former secretary general of the Democrat Party.