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The electricity company Gulf Energy Development has filed a defamation lawsuit against academic Sarinee Achavanuntakul, a critic of energy monopolies and advocate of good governance in business in Thailand.

Sarinee Achavanuntakul

Gulf Energy is suing Sarinee for criminal defamation and demanding compensation of 100 million baht over a post she made in April about power plant monopolies and the rise in electricity costs, in which she wrote about an independent power producer bid, where Gulf Energy was the sole winner, and the lawsuit resulting from a complaint filed by the Labour Union of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand to the State Sector Budget Expenditure Monitoring and Audit Committee that the bid may have been fraudulent.

Sarinee posted on her Facebook page that she received a Civil Court summons on Saturday (27 May), and a Criminal Court summons on Sunday (28 May).

In November 2021, Gulf Energy sued Move Forward Party MP Rangsiman Rome for defamation by publication over a September 2021 censure debate speech about a satellite concession, questioning the influence of Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, Minister of Digital Economy and Society, in the energy company’s dramatic growth. It also sued the Party for publishing the content of the debate.

In December 2022, the South Bangkok Criminal Court accepted the lawsuit the company filed against Bencha Saengchantra, another Move Forward MP, over a February 2021 censure debate speech about the government’s energy policy and how it grants concessions.

In December 2021, Gulf Energy also sued Same Sky Books editor and co-founder Thanapol Eawsakul for sharing a Facebook post Rangsiman made about being sued by the company. The company demanded that Thanapol pay 50 million baht compensation with 5 percent interest, publish the full version of the court’s ruling in 15 newspapers, both online and offline, delete the post and pay court costs.

Warong Dechgitvigrom, leader of the far-right Thai Pakdee Party, was also sued by the company in November 2021 for defamation. Bangkok Biz News reported that the lawsuit resulted from a live broadcast on Warong’s Facebook page, during which he said that Gulf Energy is trying to gain a monopoly in the telecommunication and internet business through buying shares in the telecommunication companies Intouch Holdings and Advanced Info Service (AIS). He also alleged that Gulf Energy was going to bid for a satellite concession.

According to its website, GULF is a holding company that invests in power generation, gas, renewable energy, hydropower and infrastructure and utilities businesses. It is also the kingdom’s largest private gas-fired and renewable power producer for the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) and private clients.

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