Kachornsak Putthanuparp, a special cases prosecutor, said the delay was necessary after the OAG’s special cases office ordered investigators handling the case to conduct additional investigation into several points, particularly the connection between Phra Dhammajayo, the abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, and monks who are his close aides.
The move aims to establish facts on the temple’s financial management and budget system.
The investigators were required to check the temple’s donation certificates against all donors which included companies, juristic entities and individuals to find out if they intended to use them to get a tax rebate.
They will also find out whether the issuing of donation certificates was made solely by Wat Phra Dhammakaya or under the supervision of the National Office of Buddhism (NOB).
Mr Kachornsak said the investigators were to submit the findings to the prosecutors before Aug 11, when the office decides whether to formally indict Phra Dhammajayo, he said.
He said the Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) had made some progress in its in-depth investigation into the temple’s financial routes. Since the case involved a large number of people, the investigation would take some time.
According to Mr Kachornsak, the donations to Wat Phra Dhammakaya could be divided into three types: donations from the faithful; donations of laundered money such as those made through Klongchan Credit Union Cooperative; and donations from investment groups, possibly for tax evasion.
“The donations to Wat Phra Dhammakaya are different from the money people give to temples elsewhere. The cash offerings to the other temples are easy to trace, but Wat Phra Dhammakaya has a modern budget management system, with the server located abroad and managed by several groups of nominees. So the investigators have found only parts of financial evidence to date,” he said.
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