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Senator Faces Money Laundering and Narcotics Trafficking Charges



Senator Charged With Money Laundering and Narcotics Trafficking

Senator Upakit Pachariyangkun appeared in the Criminal Court on Thursday to enter a not guilty plea to allegations of money laundering, facilitating a transnational criminal organization, and assisting or conspiring in narcotics trafficking.

According to Prayut Phetkhun, a spokesman for the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), the court accepted the case submitted by public prosecutors and set May 13 for the first hearing to evaluate evidence.

Senator Upakit, 62, was granted bail in the amount of ten million baht, with the condition that he not leave the country without prior permission. Sen Upakit came in the Criminal Court with his lawyer, wearing a face mask and sunglasses.

The military-appointed senator is accused of having ties to Myanmar native Tun Min Latt, who was arrested in Bangkok on September 17 last year on drug trafficking and money laundering accusations.

Senator Refutes Claims

In March, the senator attended a press conference in which he refuted claims made by Move Forward Party MP Rangsiman Rome tying him to the Myanmar drug suspect. He denied using a power supply company on the Thai-Myanmar border to launder money from the drug activity.

Following that, the OAG formed an investigation team led by senior public prosecutor Watcharin Phanurat to look into the case, which finally led to the decision to indict the senator.

The Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) confiscated Sen Upakit’s assets worth 285 million baht last month in connection with his suspected involvement in a narcotics network and money laundering.

On November 30, the ONCB confiscated more assets from the senator valued 477 million baht for examination.

Democrat Leader Acquitted

Meanwhile,Thailand’s Criminal Court has acquitted Prinn Panitchpakdi, a former deputy leader of the Democrat Party, on Thursday in an indecent act on a 17-year-old girl in 2018.

Mr Prinn was charged with committing an indecent act against a kid over the age of 15 but under the age of 18 and removing a minor from the custody of his parents for an indecent act. The defendant rejected the charges and was free on bond.

Following a review of the prosecution and defense evidence, the court determined that the alleged crimes were committed in a private van outfitted with curtains and dark films, with a curtain dividing the driver’s and passenger compartments.

As a result, outsiders were unable to see the acts. Furthermore, the statute of limitations in an indecency prosecution is only three months, and the statute of limitations has expired because this case occurred in 2018.

Concerning the allegation of removing a youngster from the custody of his parents, the court discovered that the alleged offense occurred while the defendant was transporting the girl in a van from an office to a condominium.

When the girl asked him to leave her off on the side of the road so she could catch an electric train, the defendant obliged. As a result, there was no evidence to accuse the defendant with removing a kid from the custody of his parents.

The court cleared him of the charges.

Mr Prinn has been charged with numerous sexual offenses against women. On September 28, the Bangkok South Criminal Court sentenced him to four years in prison and ordered him to pay 2 million baht in damages after finding him guilty of sexually abusing Hathairat “Anna” Vidhyaphum. He was free on bail.

Tanat “Nat” Thanakitamnuay, a wealthy former Democrat Party member who resigned and became a high-profile supporter of pro-democracy rallies in 2020, was Ms Hathairat’s husband. During a violent protest event, he lost an eye.

Mr Prinn, 45, is the son of Supachai Panitchpakdi, a former deputy prime minister, World Trade Organization (WTO) director-general, and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) secretary-general.

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