Future Forward hits back with lawsuits

Future Forward hits back with lawsuits

A combo photo of the news Future Forward claims is false. (Above) The headline reads: 'Not just [Thai] Summit. Tycoon Thananthorn owns sawmill, wood concession'. (Below) The headline reads: 'Picnic shares, old past of Future Forward's Thanathorn'. (Photo via FB/ThanathornOfficial)
A combo photo of the news Future Forward claims is false. (Above) The headline reads: 'Not just [Thai] Summit. Tycoon Thananthorn owns sawmill, wood concession'. (Below) The headline reads: 'Picnic shares, old past of Future Forward's Thanathorn'. (Photo via FB/ThanathornOfficial)

Future Forward Party has struck back, saying it will press charges against people who allegedly slandered it, after facing several accusations over the past few weeks.

Party spokeswoman Pannikar Wanich said at a briefing on Tuesday the party would begin with charges at the Criminal Court when it opens for business on Wednesday.

It will take legal action against MC Chulcherm Yugala, a former member of the royal guard, and T-News for accusing the party and its leader of having a policy of toppling the high institution.

MC Chulcherm posted the message on Facebook while online T-News outlet published the content deemed slanderous by the party on one of its websites. 

Future Forward will also press charges against unnamed others who shared what it claimed was false news that slanders the party and its leader, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.

The new party, rising rapidly in the polls, has been the target of legal charges and criticism over the past few weeks, especially after its popularity among young voters became clearer.

A news agency linked Mr Thanathorn with now-defunct Picnic Plc, a company of which owner manipulated the shares at the expense of small shareholders during 2003-06. The company was later rehabilitated by a new group of investors.

The news report showed Mr Thanathorn’s family owned 7% of the company and its headline said he was responsible for the small shareholders’ woes back then.

Mr Thanathorn explained he bought the shares in 2014, around 10 years after the share manipulation case and the company’s rehabilitation. He took them because he was given a put option by the new investor group. He sold all of the shares in 2017. He claimed he had never known the former owner or had a say in the business.

Nattawut Roongwong, an investment consultant, confirmed his story on Facebook and added the new investor group back then included other wealthy families such as the Srivaddhanaprabhas, Walailaks and Chearavanonts.

Another news agency questioned his 100%-owned 1OC Corporation. It reports the company operates sawmills and has a wood concession, leading others to speculate whether it played a part in deforestation.

On this, Mr Thanathorn explained 1OC was a company he set up for personal business but he had never used it. It has never run any business and is in the process of closure.

“Like other companies, 1OC listed a wide scope of businesses when it was registered with authorities -- a normal practice to avoid having to make changes later. Picking one of them and using it to attack me is unfair,” Mr Thanathorn said.

Earlier, party deputy leader Lt Gen Phongsakon Rotchomphu was summonsed for sharing false news about Gen Prawit Wongsuwon. Although Lt Gen Phongsakon deleted the post and posted an apology a few minutes later after he learned it was false, the ruling military junta, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) filed a complaint against him and five other people, claiming they broke the computer crime act (CCA).

An activist also accused the party of intentionally misleading voters because a piece of wrong information about Mr Thanathorn's profile was on the website for five months.  

Last year, Mr Thanathorn and two party executives were also charged with breaching the CCA for saying the pro-regime Palang Pracharath Party "siphoned" veteran MPs by offering them lenient legal action. Prosecutors will decide whether to charge them two days after the March 24 election.


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