By Piyanut Tumnukasetchai
The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) is probing money-laundering allegations after a contact suggested disciples of jet-setting ex-monk Wirapol Sukphol, formerly known as Luang Pu Nemkham, bought Bt500 million worth of savings insurance policies worth two years ago.
The policies were allegedly bought at various bank including a Bank of Ayudhya branch in Ubon Ratchathani.
DSI deputy chief Pol Colonel Yannapol Yungyuen said the agency was following a lead that some close followers of Wirapol bought insurance policies for themselves on various occasions – for amounts of Bt10-20 million or even Bt50 million, until they totalled some Bt500 million.
He said the DSI would check where the followers got the money to buy such expensive insurance policies and who was involved.
The DSI would summon bank employees as witnesses for information because there was an allegation that disciples were paid Bt160,000 in commission per Bt1-million insurance purchase.
Yannapol raised the question whether such policies were bought to embezzle money and avoid detection.
He said DSI officials were looking at a complaint to the the Police Central Investigation Bureau filed by Wirapol’s disciple Sukhum Wongprasit for abuse of authority and warned that the DSI could counter-sue if the complaint was faulty.
Pol Colonel Songsak Raksaksakul, chief of the DSI's office of foreign affairs and international criminal cases, said the DSI sent documents, including arrest warrants for Wirapol’s alleged statutory rape and money-laundering, to US authorities so they can consider revoking Wirapol’s visa. They expect a response by next week.
Pattanakit Meesa, manager of NS Speed Auto Sale and Service Co, yesterday submitted documents to DSI investigators about the sale of three cars worth a total of Bt40 million. Pattanakit, accompanied by a lawyer, said the company had seized the three cars – a Mercedes Benz Maybach (62S model), a BMW X6 car and a Porsche Cayenne – three years ago after the former monk failed to pay instalments on time.
He said Wirapol contacted the company to buy the cars himself while travelling to get medical treatment at Bangkok Hospital. He said Wirapol placed a Bt2-million down payment on the Mercedes Benz Maybach and promised to pay Bt1 million every month.
However, after paying eight installments he stopped and the company retrieved the car.
The other two cars were in a similar situation and the ex-monk co-operated as the company repossessed them.
He said the company had not sold any cars to him since.