Thanathorn, Piyabutr to fight criminal charges

Thanathorn, Piyabutr to fight criminal charges

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit speaks at the Progressive Movement office, with Piyabutr Saengkanokkul by his side, about the Election Commission's decision to take criminal action against the two men and 14 other former executive members of the 
dissolved Future Forward party. (Photo: Progressive Movement Facebook account)
Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit speaks at the Progressive Movement office, with Piyabutr Saengkanokkul by his side, about the Election Commission's decision to take criminal action against the two men and 14 other former executive members of the dissolved Future Forward party. (Photo: Progressive Movement Facebook account)

The founders of the banned Future Forward party have vowed a fight the criminal charges reportedly being brought against them by the Election Commission (EC).

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit said on Wednesday the latest move by the electoral agency could not derail the political campaign now being orchestrated by the Progressive Movement.

"The court case cannot stop us," he said.

The EC has decided to seek criminal action against Mr Thanathorn, Piyabutr Saengkanokkul and 14 other former Future Forward officials over the 191.2-million-baht loan that led to the party's dissolution, an informed source said on Monday.

The EC has not officially announced the decision.

According to the Constitutional Court’s ruling, the money Mr Thanathorn lent to the party, and which was accepted by the party as “other benefits”, breached Section 66 of the Political Parties Act, which limits donations to 10 million baht per donor per year.

The ruling led to the dissolution of Future Forward Party and its members subsequently formed the Move Forward Party. Mr Thanathorn, Mr Piyabutr and other executives are banned from political office.

Mr Thanathorn insisted that he needed to make the loan to the party because it was almost impossible for a new party to raise enough funds under the current constitution to support its operations.

This latest legal case against him would not deter him even a bit from fighting for democracy, he said.

Mr Piyabutr said the Constitutional Court’s ruling would have no legally binding effect on any future rulings by other courts.

“We’re ready to fight hard, and we do believe in Thailand’s judicial process,” he said.

He recalled his statement made after the Constitutional Court ruled to dissolve Future Forward, saying he had warned then that if the person pulling the strings behind the party's  dissolution believed that dissolving the party would stop it from thriving, that person was totally wrong.

“That (the Future Forward Party dissolution) has only fuelled the political conflict, as has been clearly seen over the past eight months,” he said

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