Moves to link Paetongtarn to Chinese mafioso politically motivated: Pheu Thai
Opposition leader Pheu Thai Party and real-estate giant SC Asset Corporation dismissed allegations of connections with a suspected Chinese mafia boss.
Pheu Thai cried foul on Sunday, saying moves to link key party member Paetongtarn Shinawatra with suspected Chinese mafia boss Chaiyanat “Tuhao” Kornchayanat were politically motivated and aimed to discredit her ahead of the general election next year.
Paetongtarn is the youngest daughter of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military-led coup in 2006 and has been in exile since.
Meanwhile, SC Asset secretary Somboon Kuptimanus said shareholders have nothing to do with the sale of houses, so Paetongtarn as a major shareholder had nothing to do with the sale of property to the suspect.
Chaiyanat has been under police custody since November 23 when he turned himself in after an arrest warrant was issued by the Bangkok South Criminal Court. He faces accusations of leading a drug trafficking ring.
On November 29, police raided 11 sites in Greater Bangkok and froze assets suspected to be owned by Chaiyanat’s so-called gang.
The areas raided include a house in a luxury housing project developed by SC Asset in Samut Prakan’s La Salle area.
Police sources said many houses owned by a suspected nominee of the gang were developed by SC Asset.
Paetongtarn, who leads the Pheu Thai Family project and is tipped to become the party’s prime ministerial candidate, holds a 28.82% stake in SC Asset.
In a statement, Somboon said SC Asset has always been transparent and done business with good governance without violating any laws.
He said SC Asset also only sold houses to Thai citizens and Thai legal entities, and that transactions were only made via banks. He said the company never takes receipt of cash.
The statement also said no shareholders were ever involved with the sale of houses developed by the company.
Noppadon Pattama, deputy chairman of Pheu Thai’s strategic committee, called a press conference on Sunday to announce that Paetongtarn is in no way connected to the suspect.
He pointed out that she is only a shareholder and not a director or executive of the firm, adding that Chaiyanat’s so-called syndicate also bought houses from other developers.
“Paetongtarn is not worried about the false reports as she has not done anything illegal or irregular,” Noppadon said.
He added that Pheu Thai has never received any donations from Chaiyanat and will not interfere in the investigation.
Noppadon said the houses were allegedly purchased by so-called nominees of the alleged gang, and it should have been the government’s duty to check and take action.
“I believe the reports linking the chief of Pheu Thai’s Family Project to Tuhao were politically motivated,” he said.
He also warned that the party will consider taking legal action against those trying to discredit Paetongtarn.
Chaiyanat was granted Thai citizenship in an order signed by Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda, who said he was simply completing a process initiated by his predecessor.