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King Power accused of failing to pay airport duty-free revenue fees

Jul 13. 2017
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File photo
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By The Nation

King Power International, the country’s largest duty-free retailer, is facing legal action by a Democrat Party politician who accused the company of failing to pay the government Bt14 billion in operating a lucrative duty-free franchise at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport.

Charnchai Issarasenarak, a former MP of the previous opposition party, said he would file his lawsuit today against King Power for alleged abuse of power without considering damages to the public and shareholders. He claimed this resulted in Bt17 billion in damages.

The politician is now deputy chairman of the National Reform Steering Assembly’s anti-corruption subcommittee.

Charnchai has been known for exposing irregularities involving state agencies and government projects. His past targets included the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) during the tenure of the previous governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra, who was his colleague in the Democrat Party.

King Power also owns England’s Premier League football club Leicester City. The company is owned and run by the Leicester chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who is one of Thailand’s wealthiest people, and his son Aiyawatt.

The original duty-free franchise contract granted in 2006 required 15 per cent of the income to be paid to the government. Charnchai alleged that King Power colluded with Airports of Thailand employees to pay the government only 3 per cent of the duty free revenue.

Earlier, Airports of Thailand’s president Nitinai Sirisamatthakarn denied the allegation, saying that King Power had adhered to its contract and paid the correct government fees.

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