Pheu Thai Party prime ministerial candidate Srettha Thavisin has tasked his lawyer with filing a lawsuit against prominent whistleblower Chuwit Kamolvisit for defamation. The lawsuit stems from Chuwit’s claims that Srettha was involved in instances of land tax evasion by property developer Sansiri Plc.
Srettha’s lawyer, Winyat Chatmontri, said the suit against Chuwit was not an attempt to bully the latter, but rather a necessary move as Srettha needed to defend himself from allegations made against him.
The criminal lawsuit for defamation involves 7-8 witnesses involved in land sales, purchases, and associated taxes. Winyat added that he was also in possession of documented evidence that will be presented at the court hearing. He said Srettha will also submit a libel suit against Chuwit to claim 500 million baht in damages.
The lawyer argued that Srettha, who was a former CEO of Sansiri Plc, was not involved in land sales and purchases, as the task was the responsibility of the company’s land procurement team. Winyat explained that in Srettha’s capacity as the top executive at the time, he only made land purchase approvals based on figures presented to him so the company could utilize the property. He added that taxes were correctly paid by the sellers in accordance with their agreements with the company.
Winyat also said an instance of land being sold in 12 batches did not entail tax evasion but rather was a move taken in accordance with “tax planning”. He further noted that this was neither illegal nor an action that caused harm to the state.
He pointed out that the state generally provides channels for people to plan their tax payments, such as using life insurance expenses for tax deductions.