By THE NATION
A case linking Panthongtae Shinawatra to a dubious loan from Krungthai Bank opened at the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconducts Cases on Tuesday (September 24) with testimony from a prosecution witness.
Panthongtae, son of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, pleaded not guilty, claiming that the Bt10-million KTB-issued cheque he received was part of an investment fund set up with the son of an executive at the Krisada Mahanakorn property group.
In addition to a written statement, Panthongtae said he will explain what he did with the Bt10 million in a testimony to court on September 26, vowing to be the lone testifier in the entire defence testimony sessions.
The defendant added that he had no intention to launder the money, and that the judges would understand him if they read his statement. No details about the written statement were provided by either Panthongtae or the judges.
Panthongtae is being tried for charges of money laundering and conspiring to commit money laundering, which are in violation of several articles under two money-laundering related laws as well as a violation of the Criminal Act.
The Bt10-million cheque is believed to be part of the Bt10-billion loan that Krisada Mahanakorn was allegedly illegally granted by state-run KTB at a time when Thaksin was serving as prime minister.
Several executives from the property group, including the one cited by Panthongtae as an investment partner, were slapped with a 12-year prison term each in another trial.
The first prosecution witness who testified on Tuesday was Sunthara Poltrai, an Anti-Money Laundering Office official who has been handling the Panthongtae case. In the testimony, he said he had detected financial transactions between Panthongtae and the now-jailed Krisada Mahanakorn execs despite them allegedly having no business connections.