Ex-judges take action over bribery claims

Ex-judges take action over bribery claims

Two former judges linked to a bribery case in a tax dispute involving a Thai subsidiary of automaker Toyota yesterday filed a complaint with the Crime Suppression Division against Law360, a US-based legal news website, for defamation.

Former Supreme Court president Direk Inkhaninan and Chaisit Trachutham, a former senior judge in the Appeal Court, who were mentioned in the Law360 report denied any involvement in the bribery scandal.

Mr Direk said briefly before meeting police that he had nothing to do with the scandal and was pursuing legal action because the report had caused damage to his reputation.

Mr Chaisit said he had prepared a copy of the ruling in the case involving a tax dispute for submission to police to support the defamation complaint.

In a recent media interview, Mr Chaisit said he was the one who argued in the plenary assembly of the Appeal Court judges that Toyota Motor Thailand Co (TMT) should lose the case before the majority -- 70 judges -- at the assembly voted against TMT.

The Law360 report said federal investigators were seeking to establish whether TMT, either directly or through a Thai law firm, had paid a former Supreme Court president and a Supreme Court senior adviser to accept Toyota's argument.

The tax dispute worth about 10 billion baht between TMT and tax authorities was over the import of parts for Prius cars.

The Central Tax Court had initially ruled in favour of TMT to revoke an order for TMT to pay additional tariffs and taxes. The Appeal Court then reversed the ruling, requiring TMT to pay the sum.

Salaikate Wattanaphan, former president of the Supreme Court who was also mentioned in the Law360 report, said via a telephone interview that he had authorised the Office of the Court of Justice to act on his behalf.

Meanwhile, the Annanon law firm at the centre of the controversy yesterday filed its own defamation suit at Huai Khwang police station.

Songpol Annanon, managing director of the law firm, denied the allegation while saying that the firm no longer represented TMT and had sought to remove itself from the case before the appeal was accepted by the Supreme Court in late March this year.

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