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OAG pushes for dissolution of scandal-hit temple

BANGKOK: The Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) has suggested a court petition to order the dissolution of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, linked to the Khun Yay Maha Ratana Upasika Chandra Khonnokyoong Foundation, after it was accused of involvement in the Klongchan Credit Union Cooperative (KCUC) embezzlement scandal, according to a public prosecutor.


By Bangkok Post

Friday 30 November 2018, 10:04AM


Wat Phra Dhammakaya, with its thousands of monks and hundreds of thousands of members who revere fugitive founder Phra Dhammachayo (inset), is Thailand’s biggest temple in acreage and membership. The OAG says it is not too big to prosecute. Photos: Bangkok Post / file

Wat Phra Dhammakaya, with its thousands of monks and hundreds of thousands of members who revere fugitive founder Phra Dhammachayo (inset), is Thailand’s biggest temple in acreage and membership. The OAG says it is not too big to prosecute. Photos: Bangkok Post / file

Kajornsak Buddhanuparb, Deputy Chief of the OAG’s Department of Investigation, said a probe found the foundation was implicated in money-laundering in relation to the case.

KCUC’s embezzled money was found to have been wired to the foundation, he said.

Mr Kajornsak said his organisation has suggested that the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), which is probing the case, petition the OAG and file a civil lawsuit that would terminate the foundation.

This would ensure that the foundation’s assets are returned to the state in line with the Civil and Commercial Code’s Section 137, Mr Kajornsak said. Former KCUC chairman, Supachai Srisupa-aksorn, was jailed in 2016 for siphoning off B22.1 million from the KCUC and allegedly embezzling billions more.

Not only were 27 cheques withdrawn from the KCUC, but also cash and many assets were believed to have been siphoned out of the cooperative, according to Mr Kajornsak.

Wat Phra Dhammakaya is also linked with other foundations that appeared to have committed similar offences, he said.

Most of the Dhammakaya Temple’s branches’ assets do not belong to the temple, but belong to the foundation, Mr Kajornsak said.

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Pol Lt Col Pakorn Sucheevakul, chief of the DSI’s Financial and Banking Lawsuit Bureau, said investigators now have sufficient evidence to file money-laundering charges against Wanna Jirakitti, who serves as the president of the foundation, as well as Areepan Treeanusorn, a foundation secretary.

He said the KCUC’s money was donated to Phra Dhammajayo, former abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya, who then sent it to other parties, including B700-800mn to the foundation to construct a globe-shaped building and B700mn to the temple to build a vihara. The KCUC’s B325mn was also discovered to have been given to the foundation directly, he said.

The DSI has managed to confiscate B1.5 billion in cash and B3.8bn in 299 assets. The confiscated money will be returned to 50,000 members of the KCUC, Col Paisit said.

 

Read original story here.

See also: Dhammakaya Foundation, monks targeted (click here)

 

 

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Galong | 01 December 2018 - 09:19:55

They've got two properties on Koh Yao Noi that should be given back to the island, but not to whomever sold the land. Turn them into rec centers for the children of the island. 

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