Judge: Mcot owes Sorayuth B49m

The Mass Communications Organisation of Thailand (Mcot) Plc is liable to return 49.35 million baht of excess revenue from oversold advertising time to Rai Som, the company of popular news host Sorayuth Suthassanachinda, an Administrative Court judge said on Thursday.

  • Published: 15/11/2012 at 04:28 PM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

Judge Anucha Hoonsawasdikul expressed his opinion in a statement to be submitted to the panel of judges handling the case brought against Mcot by Rai Som Co.

The statement was issued after the Administrative Court began considering the case this morning.

Rai Som accuses Mcot of selling more advertising time than had been agreed in the contract, and of not paying it at the agreed rate.

This involved advertising revenue contracts Mr Sorayuth and his company Rai Som had signed with Mcot to produce the Thueng Luk Thueng Khon and Kui Kui Khao news programmes for TV Channel 9 several years ago.

Sorayuth Suthassanachinda (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

Mr Sorayuth faces charges of embezzlement and bribery after the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) concluded that he embezzled 138 million baht in advertising revenue sharing from Mcot and paid Mcot staff to help conceal the records of the actual income.

On the alleged embezzlement, Mr Sorayuth said he had honoured all the contracts and paid back the 138 million baht that Mcot said he owed it. He also said he had filed a case against Mcot with the Administrative Court to get his share of the excess revenue.

Mr Anucha said that following an investigation the court found that the advertising time had been oversold.

The judge said that since many people were involved, it would have been difficult for Rai Som to hire other people to conceal the actual income from the excess revenue without being detected.

It was a shortcoming on the part of Mcot not having a proper internal audit. Therefore, Mcot should return 49.35 million baht plus annual interest of 7.5% from the excess revenue from the oversold advertising time to Mr Sorayuth's Rai Som, the judge said.

Mr Anucha, however, said this is only a proposal for consideration by the panel of judges handling Rai Som's case against Mcot.

This could not be considered a ruling, the judge said.

After leaving the courtroom, Mr Sorayuth said Rai Som's legal battle is now with the judiciary but people have the right to criticise the case.

"Concerning the news reports about PTT, ThaiBev and the Advertising Association considering withdrawing their advertising, I've phoned them and they told me that the reports are not true and they'll still advertise as usual," said the popular TV personality.

PTT, Toyota, Toshiba, Siam Commercial Bank and the SCG Group were earlier reported as saying they are considering pulling their advertising from Mr Sorayuth's programmes.

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