FFP defends B191m loan as court judgement looms

FFP defends B191m loan as court judgement looms

Future Forward Party secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul
Future Forward Party secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul

Future Forward Party (FFP) secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul insisted on Tuesday that the 191-million-baht loan the party obtained from its leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit was transparent and necessary.

The loan was properly declared and was necessary because the party did not have time to raise funds to finance last year's election campaign, Mr Piyabutr said at a press briefing ahead of a crucial court ruling this week.

The Constitutional Court is to rule on Friday whether to disband the party over the loan controversy as requested by the Election Commission (EC). The court had rejected the party's request for a trial.

The FFP is accused of violating Section 62 and Section 66 of the political party law which regulates how a party can raise funds. The law also bars individuals from donating more than 10 million baht to a party within a one-year period.

Mr Piyabutr said the loan was defined as revenue but as a debt, so borrowing was not a legal violation. He also disclosed the borrowings of other political parties such as Palang Thong Thin Thai, a government coalition partner.

About 150 police will provide security at the court on Friday where hundreds of people are expected to turn up to support the FFP. Pol Maj Gen Somprasong Yenthuam, deputy chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, said officers from Metropolitan Police Division 2 will be on guard from late Thursday afternoon. He said court officials will be responsible for security inside the court compound.

The court is at the government complex on Chaeng Watthana Road, and shared space with other agencies such as the Supreme Court, the Justice Ministry and the Office of the Attorney-General.

He said he was not worried about any protest by FFP supporters at the court as most are likely to following the ruling at the party's headquarters.

Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Suwat Chaengyodsuk has put in place measures to prevent untoward incidents ahead of the court ruling, deputy police spokesman Pol Col Kissana Phathanacharoen said.

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