Under-fire 'lotto chief' closes site, is charged

Under-fire 'lotto chief' closes site, is charged

Panthawat: Met the police
Panthawat: Met the police

Panthawat Nakwisut, CEO of the Kong Salak Plus online lottery platform, turned himself in at the office of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) on Tuesday after being accused of money laundering and providing an online gambling service.

The DSI pressed charges against Mr Panthawat after they found a 53-million-baht cashier's cheque which a suspect, by the name of Atthakarn, surname withheld, had given him.

Mr Panthawat denied all charges and also told the media on Tuesday that following the closure of the Kong Salak Plus platform, and the instigation of legal proceedings, he needed time to prepare his testimony and ensure that clients who have already paid for tickets for the current draw will receive prizes as normal.

He said he is confident the case will go his way as he has met Mr Atthakarn, who is involved in the online gambling business, just once.

The evidence that Mr Panthawat presented was a batch of reward acceptance forms to which his secretary would attest.

He also disputed former public security staff member Santhana Prayoonrat's claim that the cheque belonged to a man named Eddy, an alias of Mr Atthakarn. Mr Eddy was his business partner but their business had concluded, he said.

Mr Panthawat decision to wrap up the lottery appeared to be a pre-emptive move, coming after the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) met the Government Lottery Office and the Royal Thai Police to discuss an enforced closure of Kong Salak Plus, said DES spokesman Wetang Phuangsup.

The ministry had evidence ready to submit to the Criminal Court for an injunction to that effect. They are now awaiting the result of a preliminary hearing, he added.

According to Mr Wetang, the DES issued closure warrants against 12 of 15 illegal online lottery platforms, including Kong Salak Plus, while the final three await a court decision.

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