BANGKOK – Thailand’s military leader and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has refused to elaborate on the 600 million baht land sale he made to a private company last year.
According to documents from Gen. Prayuth’s asset declaration Col Prapat Chan-o-cha, Gen Prayut’s father, sold nine plots totalling 50 rai in Bangkok’s Bang Bon district to 69 Property Co Ltd on May 9, 2013, seven days after the company was registered, according to Isara News Agency, which quoted official documents.
The major shareholder of the company when the deal took place had a British Virgin Islands address, Isara News said, citing the Business Development Department’s data.
After a capital increase, the major shareholder now is the company linked to Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, a liquor and property billionaire.
The other point that has been raised online about Gen Prayut’s disclosure has nothing to do with the land sale but the assets he had in addition to it.
Gen Prayut got his share of the land sale of 146.5 million baht, including interest.
However, he gave his daughters 198.5 million baht and still had assets worth 128 million baht remaining. This means even without the land sale, he already had assets worth 180 million baht.
Gen. Prayuth was serving as commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army at the time of the sale. He retired from the post last month after leading a military coup on 22 May.
When a reporter asked Gen. Prayuth about the land sale today, the Prime Minister shot back that the media has no business questioning him on the matter.
“The land has belonged to me since I was a kid, it belonged to my father. So what’s the problem?” ” Gen. Prayuth said. “Please stop criticizing me already.”
He explained that the company bought the land for “investment” purposes.
“What’s the problem? The buyer is not stupid. They won’t buy anything they can’t invest further. The land belonged to me since I was a child as I lived with my father. So what’s the deal?”
When asked about the buyer of the land, of which major shareholder had a British Virgin Islands address, Gen Prayut said: “It’s the company’s business so go ask it. I’ve nothing to do with it.”
“The company wouldn’t have bought the land out of foolishness, don’t you think? If they can’t invest in the land, why would they buy it?”
Thailand’s national anti-graft agency published the financial assets of Gen. Prayuth and his Cabinet ministers last Friday, revealing that one third of the ministers are worth more than 100 million baht.
In the report, Gen. Prayuth declared 128 million baht in net assets – nearly 4 million in US dollars – and 645,754 baht in debts. Gen. Prayuth, who is still serving as the chairman of the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), was similarly dismissive when asked about his investments last week.
“I don’t know. I don’t remember,” Gen. Prayuth said on 1 November. “I am not a businessman. Please don’t ask me about this.”
When it emerged that his brother, Lt.Gen. Preecha Chan-ocha, who is serving as a member of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), “accidentally” included official army bank accounts in his personal assets last month, Gen. Prayuth defended his brother and warned that the media may face possible repercussions if Lt.Gen. Preecha is proven to be innocent.
“Don’t make such a big deal out of this,” the junta leader told reporters on 28 October. “If you can investigate this, then investigate. If he’s guilty, say so. But if he is not guilty, you’d better prepare yourselves.” – Khoasod, Bangkok Post