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Phetchabun monk defrocked, jailed

Phra Khru Kitti Phacharakhun talks on the phone while being escorted for questioning at the Crime Suppression Division on Nov 29, 2017. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

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The abbot of a temple in Phetchabun was sentenced to 26 years in prison on money-laundering charges on Wednesday. He was defrocked before being jailed.

The abbot of a temple in Phetchabun was sentenced to 26 years in prison on money-laundering charges on Wednesday. He was defrocked before being jailed.

The Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases found Phra Khru Kitti Phacharakhun, the abbot of Wat Lat Khae in Chon Dean district, guilty on 13 counts related to the laundering of money embezzled from temples.

His lawyer applied for bail with the Appeal Court, which did not make a decision when the office closed at 4.30pm.

As required by law, Phra Khru Kitti was defrocked by officials of the National Office of Buddhism (NOB) before Corrections Department officials took him to Bangkok Remand Prison in a white outfit.

Phra Khru Kitti was a district monastic chief. His layman name is Somkiat Khanthong.

The monk and former NOB director Nopparat Benjawatananun were indicted by prosecutors in February last year. He was granted bail during the trial.

The two were embroiled in the alleged laundering of the office's fund allocated to temples in Phetchabun, Nakhon Sawan, Tak and Chumphon. After the allocation, the fund had allegedly been embezzled by officials at the NOB in collusion with senior temple monks. The embezzled fund was then laundered, according to investigators.

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