B500m VAT fraud assets seized

The Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) on Friday seized assets worth about 500 million baht from people believed involved in value-added tax frauds in three provinces.

Amlo secretary-general Seehanat Prayoonrat said his staff and police searched residences in Bangkok and Nonthaburi, as well as The Hill Hotel in Pak Chong district of Nakhon Ratchasima province, and seized the assets for further investigation.

Pol Col Seehanat said that raided were house numbers 99/699 and 99/499 on Chaeng Watthana 10 Road in Thung Song Hong sub-district of Laksi district, Bangkok. They are the office of High Standard Marketing Co and houses of Mrs Patcharee, Mrs Nuchanart and Mrs Namthip Sirichoke. They are suspected of being involved in multi-billion-baht VAT refund frauds.

Also searched on Friday were a 34-million-baht condominium on Sathon Road in Bangkok, houses in Bang Yai district of Nonthaburi, and The HIll Hotel worth about 100 million baht in Pak Chong district of Nakhon Ratchasima.

The assets are suspected of resulting from money raised from falsified VAT refund claims worth about 4.3 billion baht in 2012 and 2013. Amlo reached them after expanding its investigation into a previous seizure of assets worth 132 million baht from a suspected VAT refund fraud accomplice named Weerayuth sae Lok.

"Investigators found that Mrs Patcharee was behind VAT frauds and other culprits will be reached. The case will not be concluded soon because more people is believed to be involved," Pol Col Seehanat said.

Apart from the real estate, the Amlo seized luxury cars including Porsche and Mercedes Benz at the raided properties.

Earlier it was reported that the Amlo and the National Anti-Corruption Commission suspected several officials of the Revenue Department were involved in the VAT refund frauds in which fake companies were set up to claim tax refunds.

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