Absent Kong Salak owner sends lawyer to be grilled over THB1bn lottery payments
The owner of controversy-hit online lottery platform Kong Salak Plus sent his lawyer to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to answer questions about 39 payments worth 1.09 billion baht on Thursday.
Kong Salak Plus CEO Phanthawat Nakwisut has been charged with money laundering but is currently on a trip abroad. His lawyer, Supachai Tipsith, met with DSI’s Narcotics Division director Pongsathorn Inamnuay at 10.50am to submit information about the 39 payments made to Phanthawat’s bank account.
DSI director-general Trairit Temahiwong said on Tuesday that the agency suspects the payments came from illegal businesses.
If suspicion persists, the DSI will summon Phanthawat to provide more information and evidence, said DSI spokesperson Pitthayaporn Churat on Thursday.
Other people suspected may also be summoned, she added.
DSI officials have finished interrogating witnesses in the earlier case against Phanthawat, in which he is accused of laundering 53 million baht for a gambling website.
Investigators are now checking whether the witnesses’ testimony conflicted with evidence provided by banks, said the spokesperson.
The DSI will provide an update on this case next week, she added.
Phanthawat claims that the 53 million baht was money redeemed from lottery tickets that won prizes of 42 million baht and 11 million baht. He said he assigned Or Ang to redeem the winning tickets. The DSI said Or Ang is the fugitive owner of an illegal gambling website.
The spokeswoman said Phanthawat could still travel abroad because he has not formally been charged. Once formally charged, he would be banned from travelling, she added.
Supachai said on Thursday he had provided “complete information” to the DSI about the 39 transactions.
“We can explain all the transactions. They were normal circulation of money via Phanthawat’s account, but each transaction was large so we have to explain,” the lawyer said.
He dismissed the allegations of money laundering against his client as nothing to worry about.
The probe into Kong Salak Plus was ordered by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha after Phanthawat boasted of a whopping 18 billion baht in sales last year.
The platform is also accused of direct selling and overcharging by adding 25 baht to lottery tickets’ face value of 80 baht.