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Court Orders Watch Scandal Information Released to News Media

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Court Orders Watch Scandal Information Released to News Media

Thailand’s Central Administrative Court’s has order that the NACC agency to disclose to the media a probe into a luxury watch controversy involving Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon.

The court told the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) was ordered to disclose to the media a summary of the report. The media is entitled to view evidence and documents compiled by the NACC’s inquiry panel, and Gen Prawit’s testimony.

NACC deputy secretary- general Niwatchai Kasemmongkol said his department would study the details of the Central Administrative Court order. The agency has 30 days to appeal against the order.

He said the NACC was waiting for the court order details before deciding how to proceed with the release of the information. He also said the NACC cannot disclose details of witness accounts because this might prompt lawsuits.

Luxury Watches Scandal

On Dec 27, 2018, the NACC ruled there were no grounds to accusations that Gen Prawit gave a false wealth declaration by failing to include 22 luxury watches and rings.

Gen Prawit claimed the watches belonged to a late close friend, and did not have to be declared.

Gen Prawit was in the hot seat in late 2017 after some media members spotted a $370,000 Richard Mille watch on his wrist in a photograph taken during a ceremony for cabinet ministers. Subsequent investigations of pictures taken at other public events showed that he had worn at least 22 luxury watches worth a combined 40 million baht and expensive rings in public.

The watches and jewellery were not included in the asset declaration that Gen Prawit filed with the NACC on Sept 4, 2014, after taking on the positions of deputy prime minister and defence minister.

The NACC voted 5-3 in December 2018 to dismiss the case. It found Pattawat had regularly lent watches to a group of friends including Gen Prawit, who were alumni of St Gabriel’s College. The NACC found 20 of the watches at Pattawat’s house and a warranty for another one.

Of the 21 watches, proof of purchase was found for only one while another two were bought secondhand. It also found that Gen Prawit had inherited the rings.

 

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