Senator Upakit’s assets seized in transnational crime investigation

The Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) has seized over 285 million worth of assets belonging to Senator Upakit Pachariyangkun after investigators found he was involved in drug trafficking and money laundering.

On 23 November, Pol Lt Gen Phanurat Lakboon, acting Secretary-General of the ONCB, said the ONCB seized Senator Upakit’s assets, including 29 plots of land valued at 282 million baht. He stated that further seizures will be carried out after the ONCB determines the origins of his other assets.

Earlier, on 25 October 2022, the ONCB seized 200,000 baht in cash from Upakit.  Subsequently, on 15 November 2023, they seized 28 of his bank accounts that linked to drug trafficking. 

According to Phanurat, the latest seizure was prompted by an ONCB discovery that some 600 million of Upakit’s assets had already been transferred out of the country. The ONCB is currently seeking the cooperation from relevant agencies and has filed a petition with the Office of the Attorney General. It is also reportedly pursuing additional investigations into Upakit’s assets to ascertain which were derived from illegal activities.

Senator Upakit was subject to media attention after his involvement in money laundering and drug trafficking was exposed. He was allegedly involved in Allure P&E, a company used for money laundering by Myanmar tycoon Tun Min Latt, who was arrested in Bangkok last year.

His involvement was revealed in parliament on 15 February 2023 by MP Rangsiman Rome from the Move Forward Party. Upakit responded by filing criminal and civil defamation lawsuits against Rangsiman, demanding 100 million baht.

In March, he reported to the Narcotics Suppression Bureau to face charges and declare his intent to defend himself.

On 9 October, a summons was sent to the senate requesting that Senator Upakit come in for questioning and face an additional charge of drug trafficking.

According to Section 125 of the Constitution, when parliament is in session, house representatives and senators cannot be arrested or subjected to a warrant without the permission of their respective chambers. In this instance, 174 Senators voted against the request to question him.

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