Thanathorn disqualified as MP

The Constitutional Court has ruled 7-2 to disqualify Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit as MP for having shares in a media company when applying to become MP.

The case was submitted by the Election Commission (EC), which asked it to disqualify Mr Thanathorn for having shares in a media company, which is not allowed under the 2017 Constitution. 

For the March 24 election, FFP filed the names of its list MP candidates with the EC on Feb 6, the date Mr Thanathorn was considered to have officially applied.

Mr Thanathorn held 675,000 shares in V-Luck Media Co,. Earlier, he told the court that he sold the shares to his mother Somporn on Jan 8 and his mother paid him 6.75 million baht in a cheque dated on the same day. 

However, the court said it did not see any official evidence reflecting the change in shareholders which should have been reported to the Business Development Department promptly.

The court said that the cheque from Mrs Somporn was cashed after 128 days, or on May 16, the date the Election Commission filed the case with the court.

The court dismissed the argument of Mr Thanathorn's wife that she had been too busy to cash the cheque because she just had a baby. 

Mr Thanathorn was seen campaigning in Buri Ram province on Jan 8 and he claimed he had driven to his house in Bangkok on the same day to transfer the shares — he had submitted speeding tickets as proof.

To this, the court said the testimony only proved he was in Bangkok on that day but there was no evidence the share transfer could have taken place on the day.

After the ruling, the EC must take further action against Mr Thanathorn, which could be a jail term, a large fine or a long ban from politics. It will have to file a case to the Supreme Court for politicians to make the final decision.  

Thanathorn pledged to continue his political role outside parliament.

Related search: court, media company, shares, jail term

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Writer: Gary Boyle
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