Published on August 27, 2007
An Airports of Thailand (AOT) executive is in the crosshairs of an Assets Examination Committee probe into Suvarnabhumi graft after the discovery of a huge deposit in a bank account.
An AEC source revealed yesterday that the Bank of Thailand had tipped off a committee sub-panel about the deposit.
AOT runs Suvarnabhumi and other major provincial airports. It is majority-owned by the government.
The panel is looking into alleged corruption surrounding the purchase of luggage scanners for the new airport.
The panel learned that an "unusually large amount of money was transferred" into the bank account of the unnamed executive.
The central bank has now been requested to check the source of the money and identify if it is linked to the scanner scandal. The bank is also checking the accounts of five others, including politicians.
Meanwhile, airport-investigation panel chairman Amnuay Thantara was confident the probe would be concluded by October. The panel is waiting for a Japanese suspect to appear to answer allegations laid on September 7.
Official translations by the United States' State Department of documents on the purchase of scanners are also incomplete.
In a related matter, Amnuay dismissed a claim by independent academic Chatchawal Chatsuthichai that a high-ranking official of the Council for National Security had asked the committee not to indict former transport minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit.
Chatchawal alleged that, in return for backing a council leader as the next prime minister, graft allegations would not be pursued against Suriya.
"No one has ever made such a request. I do not know if whoever made the statement has ulterior motives,'' he said.
AEC spokesman Sak Korsaengruang said he did not know Chatchawal and had not heard the claim. It could however be discussed by the AEC at a later date, he said.
Secretary Kaewsan Atibodhi said Chatchawal worked at Ban Phitsanulok when General Chatichai Choonhavan was prime minister, but he did not know him personally.
The AEC committee may consider action.