SENIOR THAILAND MONK TO BE CHARGED WITH EMBEZZLEMENT + MONEY LAUNDERING
BANKING, RELIGION & CRIME
1.2 billion baht in cheques paid to Wat Dhammakaya & its monks & nuns indicates collusion to siphon off money from credit union, DSI believes.
Wat Phra Dhammakaya’s abbot Phra Dhammachayo was among several people who may have played a key role in the Klongchan Credit Union Cooperative (KCUC)embezzlement scandal, says the Department of Special Investigation (DSI).
Pol Lt Col Pakorn Sucheevakun, director of the Bureau of Financial and Banking Crime, leads the DSI team investigating the scandal and its links to the temple.
He said 21 cashier cheques worth more than 1.2 billion baht were paid to the temple, its monks and its foundation for Buddhist nuns from March 5, 2009 to Feb 15, 2011.
All the cheques were paid by the cooperative and authorised by former KCUCchairman Supachai Srisupa-aksorn, the key suspect in the scandal.
PHRA DHAMMACHAYO FACES THEFT & MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES
…investigators believe that receiving this 1.2 billion baht in cheques indicates anintention to collude with Mr Supachai to siphon off money from the credit union.
Phra Dhammachayo and the remaining suspects face charges of money laundering,theft, corruption and dereliction of duty.
Wat Dhammakaya’s media relations officer Phra Sanitwong Wuttiwangso did not return calls seeking the temple’s comments, but one of his assistants told the Bangkok Post: “We have nothing to say except ‘let justice run its course’. ”
Pol Lt Col Pakorn said the DSI will wrap up the investigation and forward its findingsto public prosecutors next week.
Charges may be filed against more suspects depending on the prosecutors’consideration of the DSI’s investigation findings, he added.
878 CHEQUES WORTH 11.3 BILLION BAHT
In March, the DSI revealed it had investigated 878 cheques worth 11.3 billion baht paid by the credit union and authorised by Mr Supachai.
Of these cheques, 43 were worth 932 million baht and were paid to Wat Phra Dhammakaya and its monks, including abbot Phra Dhammachayo.
In addition, 27 cheques worth 348 million baht were paid to temple followers with close ties to Mr Supachai.
This included 12 cheques worth 272 million baht paid to ex-Wat Phra Dhammakaya monk Sataporn Wattanasirikul and his SW Holding Group, and three worth 46 million baht paid to the Mongkol Setthi Credit Union Cooperative, which was founded by Mr Supachai.
PREVIOUS ARTICLES IN BANGKOK POST LEARNING
‘Wat Dhammakaya’s rise to power’ provides the whole history of Wat Phra Dhammakaya and Phra Dhammachayo’s rise to power here.
The article describes how in his youth, the abbot “became infatuated with Hitler, admiring the way the Nazi dictator could control a crowd and expressed a desire to follow in his footsteps.”
‘Dhammakaya is only a symptom” details how the teachings of Wat Dhammakaya have strayed from the Buddha’s teachings here.
‘NRC urges Dhammachayo’s defrocking’ details how the National Reform Council (NRC) attempted to take some steps towards religious reform here.
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