Senator Upakit indicted for drug trafficking and money laundering


Senator Upakit Pachariyangkun was on Thursday indicted for collusion in narcotics trafficking and money laundering among six serious charges against him.

Public prosecutors also slapped charges of possessing the illicit drug ketamine for sale, involvement in money laundering while serving as a senator, association with a transnational criminal organisation in committing crimes, and involvement with those illegal activities while serving as a senator.

Prosecutors took the case against Upakit to the Criminal Court, which scheduled May 13 for an initial hearing, Prayut Petchkun, spokesman for the Office of the Attorney-General, said on Thursday.

Upakit denied all the charges against him. He wore a face mask and sunglasses when he arrived at the Criminal Court accompanied by his lawyer.

The senator was released on a bail of 10 million baht on condition that he would not leave the country without permission from the court.

Prayut said today that all the six charges were levelled by police investigators with suggestion from public prosecutors for additional investigation. He said the investigation was slow due to the several issues involved.

The spokesman said that it would depend on the court whether the cases against Upakit and his Myanmar business associate, Tun Min Latt, should be tried separately. He said the trial of Tun Min Latt’s case had already started with a court verdict expected later this month.

Tun Min Latt, who is described as a crony of Myanmar's military ruler Min Aung Hlaing, was arrested in Thailand in August last year on charges of drug smuggling and money laundering. Upakit’s son-in-law, Dean Young Gultula, was also arrested on the same charges.

The Office of the Narcotics Control Board recently froze Upakit’s assets worth more than 400 million baht on suspicion that they were ill-gotten gains linked to illegal business. The move came after the board’s officers searched seven locations in Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom, and Rayong provinces.

Last month, the board confiscated 285 million baht of the senator’s assets in connection with his alleged involvement in a drugs ring and money laundering.