Friday, October 23, 2020

Thai Senior Monk Gets 26 Years for Money Laundering


A court in Thailand sentenced a senior Buddhist monk to 26 years in prison Thursday after finding him guilty of money laundering when he and another monk embezzled almost U.S. $1 million of government funds that they claimed were earmarked for temples in the Deep South.

The conviction took place eight months after another court ordered a former jet-setting member of Thailand’s Buddhist clergy to serve 114 years in prison for fraud, money laundering and computer crimes.

Monk Kitti Patcharakun, 55, the former abbot of Lad Kae Temple in northern Petchaboon province, arrived at the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases in Bangkok on Thursday but was defrocked and sent to a remand house in the Thai capital after being sentenced, pending an appeal.

“The defendant was found guilty of violation of the 1999 Anti-Money Laundering Act on 13 counts,” according to court documents. “He is sentenced to three years for each count, but the jail term is reduced to 26 years because the defendant cooperated during hearings.”

- Advertisement -

Kitti (alias Somkiat Khanthong) did not talk to the media but his lawyer told reporters he had requested bail and would file an appeal.

Prosecutors said Kitti and the former director of the National Buddhism Office (NBO), Nopparat Benjawatananan, syphoned off 28 million baht (U.S. $903,225) by collaborating and falsifying projects for 12 temples in four provinces.

The temples did not request funds from the Buddhist Office and received a minuscule amount, prosecutors alleged in the court documents.

Kitti and Nopparat claimed that the funds would be used for religious projects, including for temples in the Deep South, prosecutors said.

- Advertisement -

The court indicted Kitti in February last year but Nopparat fled the country during the investigation process.

Thailand has more than 61,000 monks and about 80 percent of the nation’s 69 million people are Buddhists, who generally make donations believing that offering alms to monks secures them good karma in this life and the next.

Last year, about 200 police commandos raided several temples in Bangkok, arresting several monks accused of involvement in a scam in which millions of baht (dollars) of temple funds were allegedly embezzled.

At least six senior monks, a few civilians and other former NBO officials have been remanded for hearings.

In August last year, a court sentenced Wirapol Sukphol to 114 years in prison also for money laundering, among other charges.


Goldman Sachs agrees $3 billion settlement with US DoJ over 1MDB corruption scandal

Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay nearly $3bn (£2.3bn) in the US to end a probe of its role in Malaysia's 1MDB corruption scandal. The...

Hong Kong fines Goldman Sachs $350 million over 1MDB scandal

Goldman Sachs ignored multiple red flags over the multibillion-dollar fundraisings it arranged for state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, Hong Kong’s financial regulator said on...

Texas attorney general Ken Paxton fires top aide who accused him of bribery

Lacey Mase, one of the top aides who accused Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton of crimes including bribery and abuse of office, has been fired, she told The...

Fundraiser Elliott Broidy pleads guilty in foreign agent case linked to 1MDB

Major Republican Party and Trump fundraiser Elliott Broidy pleaded guilty Tuesday to acting as an unregistered foreign agent, admitting to accepting millions...

Germany issues international arrest warrant for founders of law firm at the centre of Panama Papers

Germany has issued international arrest warrants for the two founders of the firm at the centre of the tax haven scandal exposed by the...

Latest News

This Week

Police raids Czech Football Association, arrest vice-president in corruption probe

Czech police have detained 20 people including deputy Czech Football Association head Roman Berbr over alleged corruption and match-fixing following a nationwide raid, news...

Australian court approves $920 million Westpac money laundering fine

The Federal Court of Australia has agreed on the deal struck between the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and Westpac, ordering the Australian...

UK regulators fine Goldman Sachs £97 million over 1MDB scandal

Goldman Sachs International has been fined £96.6m by UK regulators for risk management failures connected to the 1MDB scandal. The Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential...

Mozambique seeks prosecution of ex-Credit Suisse bankers implicated in debt scandal

Mozambique's Attorney General's Office said on Wednesday it will seek the extradition of three former Credit Suisse CSGN.S bankers implicated in a $2 billion debt scandal...

Adblock Detected!

Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by whitelisting our website.

Enable Notifications    Ok No thanks