Phra Dhammachayo faces theft, money laundering charges

Phra Dhammachayo faces theft, money laundering charges

The DSI says founder Phra Dhammachayo (inset) of Wat Dhammakaya was directly involved in use of embezzled funds, part of which went to new buildings at the wat, above. (Bangkok Post file photos)
The DSI says founder Phra Dhammachayo (inset) of Wat Dhammakaya was directly involved in use of embezzled funds, part of which went to new buildings at the wat, above. (Bangkok Post file photos)

1.2 billion baht in cheques paid to Wat Dhammakaya & its monks & nuns indicates collusion to siphon off money from credit union, DSI believes.


Temple abbot 'key player' in KCUC scandal

DSI believes monk helped siphon off cash
King-oua Laohong

Wat Phra Dhammakaya's abbot Phra Dhammachayo was among several people who may have played a key role in the Klongchan Credit Union Cooperative (KCUC) embezzlement scandal, says the Department of Special Investigation (DSI).

Pol Lt Col Pakorn Sucheevakun, director of the Bureau of Financial and Banking Crime, leads the DSI team investigating the scandal and its links to the temple.

He said 21 cashier cheques worth more than 1.2 billion baht were paid to the temple, its monks and its foundation for Buddhist nuns from March 5, 2009 to Feb 15, 2011.

All the cheques were paid by the cooperative and authorised by former KCUC chairman Supachai Srisupa-aksorn, the key suspect in the scandal.


...investigators believe that receiving this 1.2 billion baht in cheques indicates an intention to collude with Mr Supachai to siphon off money from the credit union.

Phra Dhammachayo and the remaining suspects face charges of money laundering, theft, corruption and dereliction of duty.

Wat Dhammakaya's media relations officer Phra Sanitwong Wuttiwangso did not return calls seeking the temple's comments, but one of his assistants told the Bangkok Post: "We have nothing to say except 'let justice run its course'.  " 

Pol Lt Col Pakorn said the DSI will wrap up the investigation and forward its findings to public prosecutors next week.

Charges may be filed against more suspects depending on the prosecutors' consideration of the DSI's investigation findings, he added.


In March, the DSI revealed it had investigated 878 cheques worth 11.3 billion baht paid by the credit union and authorised by Mr Supachai.

Of these cheques, 43 were worth 932 million baht and were paid to Wat Phra Dhammakaya and its monks, including abbot Phra Dhammachayo.

In addition, 27 cheques worth 348 million baht were paid to temple followers with close ties to Mr Supachai.

This included 12 cheques worth 272 million baht paid to ex-Wat Phra Dhammakaya monk Sataporn Wattanasirikul and his SW Holding Group, and three worth 46 million baht paid to the Mongkol Setthi Credit Union Cooperative, which was founded by Mr Supachai.


'Wat Dhammakaya's rise to power' provides the whole history of Wat Phra Dhammakaya and Phra Dhammachayo's rise to power here.

The article describes how in his youth, the abbot "became infatuated with Hitler, admiring the way the Nazi dictator could control a crowd and expressed a desire to follow in his footsteps."

'Dhammakaya is only a symptom" details how the teachings of Wat Dhammakaya have strayed from the Buddha's teachings here.

'NRC urges Dhammachayo's defrocking' details how the National Reform Council (NRC) attempted to take some steps towards religious reform here.

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  • abbot (noun): the head monk at a temple - เจ้าอาวาส
  • account: bank account; money kept in a bank - บัญชี
  • authorised: given official permission to do something or for something to happen - ได้รับอนุญาต
  • cash: money - เงินสด
  • cashier cheque: a cheque guaranteed by the bank that issues it -
  • chairman: the person in charge of a committee, a company, etc - ประธาน
  • charge : an official statement accusing someone of committing a crime - ข้อกล่าวหา
  • cheque: a piece of printed paper that you can use instead of money to pay for things - เช็ค
  • collude: to act together secretly or illegally in order to deceive or cheat someone - สมรู้ร่วมคิด
  • consideration: giving careful thought to something before making a decision - การคิดพิจารณา
  • cooperative: a business or farm owned and run by the people involved, with the profits shared by them - สมาคมสหกรณ์
  • credit union: an organization that is run like a bank but run by members who can obtain loans from their combined savings; a savings and loan cooperative - สหกรณ์ออมทรัพย์, สถาบันการเงินเครดิตยูเนียน
  • depend on: according to; affected by things that happen - ขึ้นอยู่กับ
  • dereliction of duty: a serious failure to do the things that you are responsible for in your job - การละทิ้งหน้าที่
  • embezzlement: the crime of secretly taking money that is in your care or that belongs to an organisation or business you work for - การยักยอกเงิน, การฉ้อโกงเงิน
  • finding (noun): results, what people "find" or discover by doing some research or activity - ผลของการสืบค้น, ผลของการค้นหา
  • follower: a person who believes in and practices a religion -
  • former: of or in an earlier time; before the present time or in the past - อดีต, แต่ก่อน
  • forward: to send onwards - ส่งต่อ
  • found: to start an organization, company, political party etc - สร้าง, ก่อตั้ง, สถาปนา
  • foundation: an organisation that provides money for things such as medical research or for a charity - มูลนิธิ
  • indicate: to show - แสดง
  • intention: a plan in your mind to do something - ความตั้งใจ เจตนา แผนการ
  • investigation: the process of trying to find out all the details or facts about something in order to discover who or what caused it or how it happened - การสอบสวน, การตรวจสอบหาข้อเท็จจริง
  • investigator: someone whose job is to officially find out the facts about something - ผู้สอบสวน, ผู้สำรวจ, ผู้ตรวจสอบ
  • justice: a fair result or punishment from a court of law - ความยุติธรรม
  • key: very important - ที่สำคัญ
  • known as (verb): has the name .... -
  • media: radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group - สื่อ
  • money laundering: hiding the origin of money obtained from illegal activities by putting it into legal businesses - การฟอกเงิน
  • nun: woman who belongs to a religious community and who lives in a temple, convent, etc. - นางชี, แม่ชี
  • prosecutor: a lawyer whose job is to prove in court that someone accused of a crime is guilty - อัยการ
  • public (adj): belonging to the government -
  • relations: the way in which two people, groups or countries behave towards each other or deal with each other - ความสัมพันธ์
  • remain: to still be present after the other parts have been removed, used, etc; to continue to exist - ยังเหลืออยู่
  • reveal: to let something become known - เปิดเผย
  • role: the position or purpose that someone or something has in a situation, organisation, society or relationship - บทบาท
  • run its course: to develop or continue in a natural way and gradually end -
  • scandal (noun): a situation in which people behave in a dishonest or immoral way that shocks people - เรื่องอื้อฉาว
  • siphon: to take away from - ดูดออก
  • suspect: a person who is thought to have committed a crime - ผู้ต้องสงสัย
  • theft (noun): (the act of) dishonestly taking something which belongs to someone else and keeping it - การลักขโมย
  • worth: having a value in money, etc - มีค่า, มีมูลค่า
  • wrap up: to finish - ทำให้เสร็จสิ้น
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