A SENATOR and several netizens zeroed in on Progressive Movement leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit after news spread that he is a co-owner of the luxury yacht that was hit by a fire on Wednesday Dec. 23 causing three-million-baht damage, Naewna newspaper reported this morning (Dec. 25).
The yacht, Silvretta, was berthed at Ao Po Grand Marina in Phuket for a day because low tide prevented the captain from sailing to its usual berth at Boat Lagoon Marina in Phuket town. However the fire at the stern prevented immediate transfer.
This fire drew attention to the yacht and preliminary investigation revealed the owners are Thanathorn and Mr. Sakulthorn Juangroongruangkit. It was also discovered that the vessel is registered at Cook Islands, New Zealand’s autonomous region in the southern Pacific. Initial estimate says it is worth 80 to 120 million baht.
When news circulated that Thanathorn is a co-owner of this luxury yacht many people on the social media attacked him with most of them saying he is undergoing a spell of bad luck with his Progress Movement having done poorly in the Provincial Administration Organisation (PAO) election last Sunday with not one of its candidates winning a seat.
Thanathorn himself is under 14-day quarantine after campaigning heavily in Samut Sakhon province from where the new outbreak of Covid-19 started.
A well-known web page, “เสธ.Play”, posted some information about this yacht, revealing that there are in fact four owners with Thanathorn and Sakulthorn being the more famous ones.
The writer added that the green mark on the yacht indicates that it is registered at Cook Islands, of which there are 15 with a total area of 240 kilometres.
The islands’ major source of revenue is from tourism and it is also a tax-free zone famous for money laundering.
Later Senator Somchai Sawangkarn wrote on his personal Facebook page that the press and the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) should check the facts about this yacht and also check Thanathorn’s asset declaration before and after stepping down as member of parliament.
However an inspection of Thanathorn’s asset declaration to NACC shows that he stated on September 20, 2019 to having assets, together with this wife Mrs. Rawipan, worth 5,632,536,266.2 baht, liabilities totaling 683,303.45 baht, and assets after deducting liabilities totaling 5,631,852,962.75 baht.
Thanathorn also stated that he had vehicles worth 11,300,000 baht with these being an Alphard 1 van, a Nissan pickup truck and a yacht, acquired on June 26, 2018, worth 10 million baht.
His wife stated she had three vehicles worth 4,300,000 baht: a Hyundai sedan, an Alphard 1 van and a LEXUS 1 sedan with Thanathorn holding 20% stake in a yacht.
Top: The fire-hit yacht Silvretta and a copy of the Cook Islands registration paper, right. Thai headline asks, “Who are the owners?” Photo: Naewna