Senator Upakit tells drugs cops he is innocent, vows to fight allegations
Senator Upakit Pachariyangkun on Monday reported to Narcotics Suppression police to be charged with colluding in money laundering and involvement in a transnational criminal organisation.
Move Forward MP Rangsiman Rome told Parliament last month that Upakit was a business partner of Myanmar tycoon Tun Min Latt, who was arrested in Bangkok last September and charged with drug trafficking and money laundering.
Rangsiman said Upakit used to hold shares and a directorship in Allure Group Ltd, a company found to be the money-laundering arm of Tun Min Latt’s drug trafficking operation. The Move Forward MP also alleged that a retired police general was shielding Upakit from arrest.
Upakit responded by denying he had a close relationship with the controversial Myanmar tycoon. The senator said he had quit his post at Allure Group in 2019 before joining the Senate, and sold all his shares in the company and its casino complex in the Myanmar border town of Tachileik.
According to rights group Justice For Myanmar, Upakit passed on his Allure Group holdings to his son-in-law, Dean Young Gultula.
His son-in-law was among three Thais arrested with Tun Min Latt on suspicion of money laundering.
Thai police have confiscated over 500 million baht of their assets.
Tun Min Latt is also an arms broker for the Myanmar junta through his Star Sapphire Group of companies.
Upakit hit back at the allegations of money-laundering by suing Rangsiman for defamation and damages of 100 million baht.
On Monday Upakit told police he had no connection with drug trafficking and that he intends to fight the allegations.
Since there was no police summons or arrest warrant issued for Upakit, investigators recorded the senator’s statement, collected his fingerprints and let him go home. They also scheduled sessions for Upakit to give statements as the investigation progresses.