By Kitinan Sanguansak
Embattled Football Association of Thailand president Worawi Makudi has vowed to counter-sue South Korean company Dae-an 21, which is suing him for alleged embezzlement.
The company claims that Worawi failed to honour the firm’s contract to oversee the FAT’s commercial rights, despite having received US$900,000 in part-payment for the rights.
The case adds to the growing pile of allegations Worawi is currently facing, prompting the Thai FA boss to take the highly unusual step of calling a press conference for the second day in a row yesterday.
On Tuesday, Worawi responded to fresh allegations he had spent football-development grants on developing land he owned by presenting the title deeds to the media. He denied having mortgaged the land with a bank and insisted he had donated it to the FAT.
The contract row with Dae-an 21 came to light after the Korean company sued Worawi for embezzlement last month. The FAT president proclaimed his innocence and insisted that it was the Koreans who had failed to honour the contract.
“I want to confirm there is no substance in the story with Dae-an. We did have a contract with them. I myself signed it with the president of the Korean company. They gained the right to oversee the association’s marketing benefits and we received money from them in return. It’s as simple as that.
“There’s no question of embezzlement, as we had a written contract. The money they transferred to us went into the association’s account, not mine. But they made only two payments and then just stopped paying us without any reason.”
The fact that the four-year contract was signed in April 2007 and expired in March last year left Worawi questioning the timing of Dae-an’s lawsuit.
“Normal people file a lawsuit as soon as they know of any embezzlement. So why the decision to sue me more than a year after the contract expired?”
Worawi also unveiled as his witness someone who worked for Dae-an at the time the contract was signed. He added he would launch legal proceedings against the Dae-an, even though it had since become a “sleeping” company.
“We know it may not be worth of it. We don’t know whether they will have money to pay compensation, because technically they don’t operate anymore. But I think we need to sue them in order to protect our reputation.”