NACC sets 3 months for supercar tax scam probe
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) expects to wrap up in three months its probe into a tax evasion scam involving 1,000 supercars, in which many state officials are allegedly involved.
While such progress sounds promising, it will only clear the "first lot" of several thousands of suspected supercars that the commission is looking into, NACC member Witthaya Arkhompitak said yesterday.
He added the complexity of the case makes it difficult to conduct quick investigations.
The case is believed to involve hundreds of suspects, while a huge amount of evidence both in and outside Thailand needs to be examined as the scandal concerns foreign-made cars that were imported into the country unlawfully to avoid paying high tax duties.
Mr Witthaya said the NACC cannot investigate the entire case at once, but it has to break it up into several parts and examine them separately to make the process easier. He said the case has been under way since 2013.
Former high-ranking officials at the Customs Department are reportedly among state officials on the NACC's list of suspects.
The corruption watchdog is among other state agencies, including the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and the Office of the Auditor-General, which has looked into the scandal after a transporter lorry of six luxury cars caught on fire in Nakhon Ratchasima's Pak Chong district in 2013.
The DSI suspected the owners of these cars were involved in a tax evasion scam.
So far, it has identified a total of seven suspects -- five Thai and two Malaysian nationals -- involved in the import of these six cars, Pol Maj Worranan Srilum, chief of DSI's Special Case Management Centre, said yesterday.
They have been charged with violating the 1926 Customs Act for allegedly bypassing a customs check to avoid paying taxes for the imported cars, he said.
The DSI has asked to prosecutors to go ahead with the indictment though some suspects are still at large.