By Thai Newsroom Reporters
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER SOMSAK Thepsuthin today (Oct.26) categorically dismissed the accusation that he had demanded 50 million baht in payoff from the family of former convict/construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta in exchange for his freedom a couple of years ago.
Somsak who was justice minister when Premchai was sentenced by court to a two-and-a-half-year prison in 2021 for involvement in 2018’s illegal hunting and slaying of a black panther in Kanchanaburi’s wildlife sanctuary has encountered the allegations posted online by an unnamed person to the extent that he had quietly called for 50 million baht in kickback cash from the convict’s family but finally failed to get it, thus leaving him in jail.
The deputy prime minister quoted Premchai’s spouse Kanitta Karnasuta as denying that he had ever demanded such a payoff to purportedly spare the convicted tycoon the jail sentence and said the “groundless” accusation launched against him had apparently come from abroad.
Premchai, a former president of the country’s largest construction firm Italian-Thai Development Plc., was recently released on parole without an EM ankle bracelet after he had been put behind bars for nearly two years in the western province.
Top: Deputy Prime Minister Somsak Thepsuthin holding talks with construction tycoon Premchai Karnasuta’s wife Kanitta Karnasuta in 2018 when he was justice minister with Premchai’s image inset. Photo: Matichon
Front Page: Deputy Prime Minister Somsak Thepsuthin with an image of Premchai Karnasuta inset. Both photos: Matichon