Authorities plan to seize assets, property of Ekkayuth

Authorities plan to seize assets, property of Ekkayuth - AP, September 10, 2004, 7:34pm
This is a controversial move typically made late on a Friday afternoon: Thai authorities said Friday they plan to seize all assets and property of a London-based Thai businessman who claims that top government figures manipulated the stock market for personal gains.
..."AMLO is acting under the orders of a dictatorship. They are welcome to check my assets and I am ready to fight back," Ekkayuth told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.


[This is another article that has vanished from the internet, so here is the full text.]

Friday September 10, 7:34 PM
Thai authorities plan to seize assets, property of London-based Thai businessman

Thai authorities said Friday they plan to seize all assets and property of a London-based Thai businessman who claims that top government figures manipulated the stock market for personal gains.

The announcement by the government's Anti Money Laundering Office, or AMLO, is the latest twist in a nasty political fight between property tycoon Ekkayuth Anchanbutr and Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Ekkayuth's accusations against Thaksin and the government's threats to prosecute Ekkayuth have made daily headlines in Thailand. Commentators say Thaksin seems worried that the claims will undermine his popularity ahead of general elections that he must call by January 2005.

Ekkayuth said the AMLO order proves that Thaksin is using state power to victimize him.

"AMLO is acting under the orders of a dictatorship. They are welcome to check my assets and I am ready to fight back," Ekkayuth told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

Ekkayuth says 30 members of the government, whom he has not identified, influenced stocks to build their political war chests before general elections.

He has said he will provide the evidence on Monday to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has threatened to arrest him if he refuses to disclose all information relevant to his allegations.

Ekkayuth gained notoriety in 1984 when he was allegedly involved in a pyramid investment scheme that defrauded hundreds of people, mostly army officers and their families, of more than 1 billion baht (US$24 million; euro 20 million).

AMLO Secretary General Peeraphan Premaphuthi told reporters that action will be taken against Ekkayuth to recover the money he allegedly stole from Thais.

"The law empowers AMLO to seize the money from Ekkayuth Anchanbutr for his cheating of the public," Peeraphan said.

Ekkayuth's personal assets and those of his high-profile company, Charter Investment Co. Ltd., were seized before in 1984 after the pyramid scheme was busted.

He fled to Europe that year, but returned to Thailand the next year when he was allegedly involved in a coup attempt against the then coalition government.

After the coup failed, Ekkayuth fled to Britain, and lived there until recently, when he returned to Thailand after the pyramid scheme charges expired under the statute of limitations.

Ekkayuth now runs a successful retail, real estate and restaurant business in Britain. His company, Oriental Mart Group, is reportedly worth more than 10 billion baht (US$243 million, euro 203 million).

It was not clear if AMLO has the power to seize his assets in Britain. Ekkayuth refused to say how much his assets in Thailand were worth.
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