Amlo freezes Pongpat's title deeds
The Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) has decided to freeze title deeds for 104 land plots worth more than 400 million baht owned by former Central Investigation Bureau chief Pongpat Chayapan.
Amlo secretary-general Seehanart Prayoonrat made the announcement on Tuesday after an Amlo transaction committee considered a request to freeze assets linked to Pol Lt Gen Pongpat's alleged criminal network.
Pol Col Seehanart said police were handed land title deeds for 136 plots, but the committee found 32 were acquired by Pol Lt Gen Pongpat before he assumed the post of CIB chief on Oct 1, 2010.
Amlo has only frozen the land documents for the plots acquired after he became CIB chief, Pol Col Seehanart said.
Evidence has come to light suggesting the acquisition of the plots may have been linked to illegal gambling, which violates money laundering laws, he said.
Pol Col Seehanart said the committee found most of the land plots are being held by Pol Lt Gen Pongpat's nominees.
The nominees include Pol Lt Gen Pongpat's relatives, as well as members of his alleged criminal network who have been detained by police, Pol Col Seehanart said, adding that most of the plots are in Samut Sakhon, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani.
Pol Col Seehanart said Amlo will summon the nominated owners of the plots to explain how they acquired the land, while Amlo officials will visit detained members of the network in prisons to question them about their land acquisitions.
Amlo will give them 30 days to explain how they acquired the plots, he said, adding the agency has the authority to freeze their assets for investigation for 90 days.
Pol Col Seehanart said the plots are the first batch of assets connected to the Pongpat network to be handed to Amlo.
More assets linked to the network, including about 10 confiscated luxury cars, and more than 20,000 antique items, will be passed on to the agency, he said.
Pol Col Seehanart said Amlo is tracking the network's money trail.
The agency will uncover how much the network was worth and who else was involved, he said.