FFP leader to let Dtac release mobile info on transfers of shares

FFP leader to let Dtac release mobile info on transfers of shares

Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of the attends a news conference to form a
Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of the attends a news conference to form a "democratic front" on March 27, 2019. (Reuters photo)

Embattled Future Forward Party (FFP) leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit says he is ready to allow Dtac to disclose the details of his mobile phone usage on Jan 8 to back his claim that he transferred his shares in a media company to his mother on that day.

''So the issue will be laid to rest. Undeniably, there are some people looking to destroy Future Forward,'' Mr Thanathorn said, speaking via a live interview on the Suthichai Yoon Facebook page.

He added that he and other FFP key figures wanted to restore democracy to the country and build it into a legal state, with people treated equally under the law. To achieve this aim, reforms are needed to streamline the bloated bureaucracy and the armed forces, he said.

On March 25, Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Constitution, petitioned the Election Commission (EC) to investigate whether Mr Thanathorn was qualified to be an MP.

Mr Srisuwan claimed Mr Thanathorn applied to be an MP candidate while still holding shares in V-Luck Media Co, which runs several media outlets. This could constitute a breach of Section 98 (3) of the constitution, which bars owners or shareholders of media and/or publishing companies from applying to be MPs.

In a statement issued last Tuesday, the EC said evidence showed Mr Thanathorn owned 675,000 shares in the media company. He has seven days to defend himself after receiving the EC's document informing him of the allegations.

FFP's spokeswoman Pannika Wanich said on Friday that Mr Thanathorn will meet the EC this coming Tuesday to counter allegations that he illegally owned media shares. Mr Thanathorn has dismissed the complaint and insisted he and his wife had transferred their shares to his mother on Jan 8 before he applied to stand in the March 24 general election.

Mr Thanathorn insisted he and his wife transferred all their shares in V-Luck Media Co to his mother after returning to Bangkok from Buri Ram, where he was campaigning the same day.

But, according to the Department of Business Development, the change in shareholdings of the company was reported to officials only three days before the poll date on Mar 24.

By law, a list of shareholders must be sent to the department once a year, and within 14 days after a meeting of shareholders, FFP secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul argued, citing the Civil and Commercial Code. Company owners met on March 19 before informing the department on March 21.

But this is a problem, said Kamnoon Sidhisamarn, former senator and member of defunct regime-initiated National Reform Steering Assembly, because an "outsider" would hardly know how many shares changed hands in a year and whether the shares were really transferred on certain dates and between persons claimed by owners.

The outsider in his case is the EC, he said.

According to Isra News Agency, Mr Thanathorn's mother gave the shares she received to two nephews on Jan 14. The shares were later transferred back to his mother on March 21, the same day she informed the department of the list of new shareholders.

"But how will the EC know whether Mr Thanathorn did not own the shares when he applied for MP candidacy on Feb 6?" Mr Kamnoon asked.

The election watchdog said on April 23 that it believes its allegation has grounds, and that Mr Thanathorn held 675,000 shares in V-Luck Media Co.

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