Somyot cash eyed after parlour raid

Somyot cash eyed after parlour raid

Forty individuals, including former police chief Somyot Poompunmuang, are being interrogated by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) for engaging in financial transactions with the owner of Victoria's Secret massage parlour.

The move came after DSI officers suspected that Kampol Wirathepsuporn, who ran the notorious massage parlour, might try to launder his assets by transferring them to others. Mr Kampol is a major suspect in human trafficking after officials raided Victoria's Secret on Jan 12. The raid found 80 women, including girls from Myanmar, who had been working as prostitutes at the parlour.

Pol Gen Somyot and Mr Kampol are known to have been friends. The former police chief reportedly admitted he had borrowed 300 million baht from his "old friend", Mr Kampol, while he was a national police commander.

But he said the loan was settled and he had informed authorities of this transaction.

The former police chief is among the 40 individuals who the DSI is investigating over their financial ties with Mr Kampol, whose money trail is being examined, according to deputy permanent secretary for justice Tawatchai Thaikyo.

The agency is also talking with the Stock Exchange of Thailand after financial analyst Sunand Srichantha in February raised the issue of suspicious stock trading between Mr Kampol, Pol Gen Somyot and another businessman described by Mr Sunand as a "media mogul".

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC)'s secretary-general Worawit Sookboon said Pol Gen Somyot had offered a clarification over the 300 million baht, but would not discuss further details.

However, his first assets declaration as a former NLA member did not show the 300-million-baht debt. Pol Gen Somyot also declared his assets as national police chief, but those details were not publicised as such declarations for state officials are legally classified documents, Mr Worawit said.

In his declaration to the NACC, Pol Gen Somyot, now chairman of the Football Association of Thailand, and his wife's assets totalled more than 358 million baht, with debts listed at 3.3 million baht.

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