FFP chief maintains innocence over shares

FFP chief maintains innocence over shares

Thanathorn vows to 'restore democracy'

Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit maintains his innocence in the media shareholding case during a press conference on Friday. (Photo from @Thanathorn_FWP Twitter account)
Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit maintains his innocence in the media shareholding case during a press conference on Friday. (Photo from @Thanathorn_FWP Twitter account)

Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit has stood firm in his innocence in the media shareholding case due for a Constitutional Court ruling on Wednesday, pledging that the party will continue its journey to restore democracy to a country that has been mired in coups for several decades.

Speaking at a press conference at the Thai Summit Tower on Friday ahead of the ruling, Mr Thanathorn, who featured in Time magazine's recent "Time 100 Next 2019" list, assured the public that "We believe in our innocence" and "We have done everything according to Thai law".

Mr Thanathorn argued that V-Luck Media ceased operating as a media company on Nov 25, 2018.

"After editorial staff finished the last edition of Jibjib magazine on Nov 25 last year, the firm terminated employees and closed down the following day. It didn't generate income from media products and services. The only source of revenue is selling the company's facilities. How can it be considered media?" he said.

According to Mr Thanathorn, V-Luck Media was hired by Nok Air to produce Jibjib magazine and by Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) to produce Wealth magazine. The last issue of Jibjib magazine was the December 2018 edition while the last issue of Wealth magazine was the fourth quarter edition last year.

Mr Thanathorn asserted that he completed the transfer of shares in the company to his mother in early January this year ahead of his application as an MP candidate on Feb 6.

"The Election Commission (EC) claimed that I owned media shares until March 21 because it based its decision on a form containing a shareholders' list called a Bor Or Jor 5. However, the completion of share transferral must comply with Section 1129 and 1141 of the Civil and Commercial Code. On Jan 6, I transferred my shares to my mother in front of two witnesses and a lawyer. If the EC has found no evidence against me, my transaction must be deemed complete," he said.

Mr Thanathorn denied violating Section 98 (3) of the charter, which aims to prevent politicians from owning and interfering in media.

"From the cradle to the grave, three publications neither give me any political advantages nor damaged my rivals. It shut down before anybody knew there would be the announcement of the Royal Decree for the election on Jan 23 this year," he said.

Mr Thanathorn also questioned whether the EC rushed to forward the alleged media shareholding case to the Constitutional Court on May 16 this year even though its sub-committee was still investigating the matter.

Meanwhile, Mr Thanathorn denied that the media shareholding case would result in his party being disbanded and his party leadership being terminated.

"It deals only with my MP status in connection with Section 98 (3) of the Constitution," he said, adding that he will continue working in politics even if he is disqualified from working as an MP.

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