Thanathorn threatens to sue EC

Thanathorn threatens to sue EC

Future Forward supporters wait while its leader meets with the Election Commission on Tuesday at the EC office. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)
Future Forward supporters wait while its leader meets with the Election Commission on Tuesday at the EC office. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)

The Future Forward leader has threatened to take legal action against the Election Commission after a four-hour meeting with its panel handling his media shareholding case on Tuesday.

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit told reporters after the meeting he felt the case against him was politically motivated.

“They [panel members] couldn’t answer the simple questions -- what did we do wrong or which part of our written explanations they didn’t believe,” he said.

The former auto-parts tycoon said he had put all evidence on the table and it was high time the EC asked those who did not believe it to come up with incriminating evidence. 

“So far I’ve been tolerant but my patience is wearing thin if we’re going down this road. One day, we’ll have to retaliate legally.

“After the NCPO [National Council for Peace and Order] ceases to exist, we’ll take legal action against the EC under Section 157 of the Criminal Code for dereliction of duty. After all, the statute of limitations is 15 years. Besides, if anyone slanders us or violates our rights, I reserve the right to take legal action against them too,” he said.

“What upsets me the most is that since the party was set up last year, core leaders and I have faced charges in 16 cases. Over the past two weeks, the NCPO used its Section 44 powers to help telecommunication giants save billions of baht and issue an order further centralising the ruling power. Instead of protecting people’s interests by studying these cases and explaining to people the pros and cons of these moves, I spent time defending myself in this case,” he said.

Party secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, who was also present at the meeting, said Mr Thanathorn was accused without being given a chance to explain.

“A summons was sent to Somporn Juangroongruangkit [Mr Thanathorn’s mother] at 1.45pm on April 22 asking her to give statements to the EC at 10.30am on the same day. The next day Mr Thathanthorn was charged.”

The former Thammasat law lecturer said the EC believed the petitioner, activist Srtisuwan Janya, who quoted news reports from an agency as the only piece of evidence.

He added some of the so-called evidence the EC used was not clear such as the shareholder register form.

“The EC said according to it Mr Thanathorn was still a shareholder but when we asked when the EC checked it, they couldn’t give us the answer. They also ignored the fact that the form can’t be used as share transfer evidence,” he said.

The Election Commission accused Mr Thanathorn of still owning a media company when he applied to become an MP, a prohibition under the MP law and the constitution.

Mr Thanathorn held 675,000 shares in V-Luck Media Co Ltd, which published the people and lifestyle magazine Who! and an inflight magazine for Nok Air. The publications folded two years ago and the company was in the process of being closed pending some debt collection.

Mr Thanathorn claimed he had sold the shares to his mother on Jan 8 this year for 6.75 million baht. As evidence, he showed the share transfer certificate signed by a notary, share certificates, an account-payee cheque and a shareholder register.

The change in the register of shareholders of V-Luck Media was reported to the Department of Business Development (DBD) at the Commerce Ministry on March 21.

The change in the shareholder register is simply an annual update that all companies have to submit to the DBD. For obvious reasons, the law does not require companies to inform the DBD every time a share transaction occurs.

Mr Thanathorn said that under the Civil Code (Section 1129), a share transfer takes effect when it is made in writing and before witnesses.

Some media outlets later challenged his claim, saying he was in Buri Ram on Jan 8 so he could not possibly have returned to Bangkok to transfer the shares on the same day. They floated the possibility that he had forged evidence to avoid being disqualified.

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