Thanathorn grilled by judges during his media shareholding trial

Thanathorn grilled by judges during his media shareholding trial

Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit talks to reporters outside the Constitutional Court in Bangkok on Friday. (Photo supplied)
Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit talks to reporters outside the Constitutional Court in Bangkok on Friday. (Photo supplied)

In emotional responses, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit repeatedly told judges he could not remember specific details as the Constitutional Court on Friday began hearing the media shareholding case that jeoardises the Future Forward Party leader's political future.

Mr Thanathorn was the first of 10 defence witnesses scheduled to testify in court on Friday.

The Election Commission asserts that he was not eligible to run for a seat in the March 24 general election because he allegedly held shares in V-Luck Media Co. The law prohibits election candidates from holding stocks in a media company.

He won a seat on the party list.

On Friday, the judges asked Mr Thanathorn to verify if he really transferred his 675,000 shares in V-Luck Media to his mother, Somporn, on Jan 8 as he claimed. The Election Commission received candidacy applications in early February.

Mr Thanathorn was also asked if he had made an appointment in Bangkok to transfer the shares to his mother before, or after, he began planning his election campaign while in the northeastern province of Buri Ram.

Mr Thanathorn said he did not remember that. When the court repeated the question, he replied "Can you remember if you set one meeting before or after another meeting on a day?"

He said that on Jan 8 he left Buri Ram at 11am, travelled in his vehicle driven by his chauffeur and arrived at his residence at Lakeside Villa in Bangkok at 4pm to sign the share transfer contract with his mother.

Judges asked how he cashed the 6-million-baht cheque received from his mother as payment for the shares. Mr Thanathorn said he did not remember because he had his wife handle all his financial transactions. He also said he did not know how his mother passed the cheque to his wife.

Asked why the cheque was cashed in May, Mr Thanathorn said he did not know and had never asked about that because his family had no financial troubles. The late action was the decision of his wife.

Mr Thanathorn told the court that despite his shareholding he had never managed V-Luck Media. He had  received its shares from his mother only because his mother wanted his wife to have a job after she had resigned from a bank to raise his children.

Asked why he failed to send the financial reports of V-Luck Media to the court, Mr Thanathorn replied emotionally that he forgot, because he had to handle so many documents. "I did not think whether to send them or not would be significant to the case," he said.

Asked repeatedly to elaborate on the official registration for the closure of V-Luck Media, Mr Thanakorn said emotionally, "How many times do I have to repeat that I do not remember?"

He vowed to take legal action against the Election Commission for bringing the case to court, saying the commission filed the case with the court before its sub-committee finished its investigation into the case.

The ruling in the case is set for Nov 20. The two sides must send their written statements to the court within 15 days. 

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