The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) is looking into whether Alisa Asavabhokin, the daughter of a property tycoon, is the owner of a land plot connected with the Klongchan Credit Union Cooperative (KCUC) embezzlement scandal.
If she is proved to be the owner, she will be summoned for questioning, DSI deputy spokesman Woranan Srilam said.
Speaking at the Border Patrol Police Region 1’s headquarters in Pathum Thani, Pol Maj Woranan said the DSI would summon the owner of the land plot where Wat Phra Dhammakaya’s six-storey medical care building named Boon Raksa is located.
The building, located near the temple, was previously targeted during a DSI search for the elusive former abbot Phra Dhammajayo who is wanted for laundering money and receiving stolen assets in connection with the KCUC embezzlement.
Ms Alisa, the daughter of Anant Asavabhokin, chairman of SET-listed property developer Land and Houses Plc, was reported by some local media to be the owner of the land plot.
Pol Maj Woranan said DSI chief Paisit Wongmuang has ordered DSI officials to gather information regarding the land plot to determine who the owner is.
He said Pol Lt Col Prawut Wongsinil, head of the DSI’s consumer and environment protection division, would work with the Royal Thai Armed Forces’ survey department on this.
Ms Alisa and Mr Anant could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Supachai Srisupa-akson, former chairman of KCUC, was convicted of siphoning money from his organisation.
He is currently in prison after being sentenced by the Criminal Court to 16 years in jail after admitting to siphoning money from KCUC accounts in 2013.
Supachai was found to have used the KCUC money to buy land in Pathum Thani’s Klong Luang district under his own name.
Pol Col Dusadee Arayawuth, deputy permanent secretary for justice, said earlier that after Supachai faced embezzlement accusations back in April 2013, he allegedly sold eight parcels of land to Ms Alisa.
A DSI source said DSI investigators indicted Supachai and others, but not Ms Alisa as she had evidence to prove the purchase of the land was legitimate.
The investigators are probing whether Ms Alisa holds ownership of the land on behalf of the temple, adding the land is now believed to be the location of the temple’s Boon Raksa building.
The source added that Pol Col Dusadee had ordered a freeze on the use of the eight land plots in 2015.
Meanwhile, Kajornsak Putthanuphab, executive director of the Office of the Attorney-General’s Investigation Office 3, yesterday revealed the progress in a probe into a case in which Wat Phra Dhammakaya deputy abbot Phra Thattacheewo is suspected of using the temple’s money to buy shares.
Mr Kajornsak said the money trail showed that between 2010-2016, the deputy abbot distributed more than one billion baht to monks and laymen for investment.
There was proof that Supachai transferred money from the KCUC to the accounts of Wat Phra Dhammakaya and Phra Dhammajayo before the money was handed to other people, Mr Kajornsak said.
In light of this, investigators must summon Phra Maha Boonchai Charuthatto, the monk in charge of the temple’s financial affairs, officials from the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as brokers who handled the sale and purchase of shares for the nominees standing in for Phra Thattacheewo, Mr Kajornsak said.
He explained that even though Phra Thattacheewo had not used his own name to buy shares, a group of businessmen is suspected of acting as his nominees.
Mr Kajornsak added investigators would summon people involved in the monk’s alleged share purchase shortly.
On Wednesday, a meeting of officials handling money-laundering cases in connection with Wat Phra Dhammakaya said that an investigation into the temple’s money trail clearly showed Phra Thattacheewo, who is also the temple’s deputy abbot, pulled the money out of the temple’s bank accounts and purchased company shares and land.
No details of the amount of money were provided.
Since the monk is serving as a state official in the post of deputy abbot of the temple, he is bound by Section 157 of the Criminal Code governing malfeasance, the officials said.
An investigation is under way in this case and more evidence would be found, they said.
Investigators are preparing to summon Alisa Asavabhokin, the daughter of property tycoon Anant Asavabhokin, for questioning in connection with her ownership of a large land plot where a major building in the Dhammakaya Temple compound is situated.
According to the land title deed, Alisa bought eight tracts of land with a combined area of 57 rai worth Bt298 million, from Supachai Srisupak-aksorn, the former chairman of bankrupt Klongchan Credit Union Cooperative (KCUC), in 2013. The deal took place just a few days before Supachai’s assets were seized by authorities following criminal charges of money laundering and possession of ill-gotten assets.
Sources at the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) said Alisa will be questioned because the land plot was later used to construct the Boonruksa Building inside the temple compound, which became a hospital. Investigators say they have also found the money trail which shows funds were diverted from the temple to Alisa to buy the land on behalf of the embattled temple.
Nicknamed Taeng, Alisa is the middle child of Anant, the major shareholder of Land and House and Home Pro whose combined assets total Bt97 billion. Her father has long been a key supporter of the Dhammakaya Temple.
Alisa, who got a masters degree from New York University on linguistics, said in an earlier interview that she chose not to enter the family’s business of property development.
After working for a few years at Assumption University and International Labour Organisation’s offiice, Alisa turned to do what she enjoys most: the spa and yoga businesses under the Lullaby brand.
Last year, Alisa also came under the media spotlight when her name appeared in the so-called Panama Papers as director and shareholder of Lullaby Holding Limited, an offshore account set-up in the British Virgin Islands, along with another offshore holding firm controlled by another child of Anant.