A bench of nine judges of the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions delivered the ruling yesterday (June 15).
The assets seized were two sections of land in tambon Rim Tai of Mae Rim district, Chiang Mai, and shares in Ascon Construction Plc. Their value was estimated at B21.14mn.
The court ruling said the two blocks of land were purchased on Dec 26, 2014. Payment was made with a Kasikornbank cashier’s cheque for B11mn, and Kasem paid B800,000 in cash as the title transfer fee.
A messenger had paid for the cashier’s cheque in cash at Kasikornbank's Chaeng Watthana branch in Bangkok. Between 2013 and 2016 the messenger worked for a company owned by Yaowapa Wongsawat, a former Pheu Thai MP for Chiang Mai and younger sister of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The messenger had no relationship with Kasem that could justify his paying the B11mn for the cheque to buy the land for Kasem, the court stated.
The court also said Kasem declared earnings of B817,556 in 2013 and B664,480 in 2014 and his wife Duangsuda declared B1.37mn in 2013 and B1.16mn in 2014. Neither could afford to buy the land and there was no evidence that they withdrew money to buy the cheque.
The court also said Duangsuda’s B61.84mn shares worth B9.27mn in Ascon Construction were bought with money the court had earlier considered as unusual wealth. The purchase was made when Kasem was a vice president of the Chiang Mai provincial administration organisation.
Kasem, a close aid of Mrs Yaowapa, was represented in court by his lawyer when the ruling was delivered yesterday. His lawyer said he would ask if his client wished to appeal.
On March 16 last year the Supreme Court division sentenced Kasem to 12 months in jail for concealing his wealth and ordered the seizure of assets worth B168mn.
The seized assets included the shares in Ascon Construction Plc and in Wyncoast Industrial Park Plc, money from sales of MLINK Asia Corp shares, investment funds in the stock exchange and sections of land in Chiang Mai.
He served his term and was released.
Read original story here.