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A Thai senator linked to a Myanmar tycoon is indicted for drug trafficking and cash laundering

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BANGKOK — State prosecutors in Thailand indicted a member of the nation’s Senate on six costs involving narcotics trafficking, cash laundering and affiliation with a transnational legal group, stated an announcement obtained Friday from the attorney-general’s workplace.

The senator, Upakit Pachariyangkun, denied all the costs when he appeared Thursday at legal court docket in Bangkok, and was granted launch on bail of 10 million baht ($286,000).

Upakit’s case is linked to that of Tun Min Latt, an influential businessman from neighboring Myanmar who’s apparently near that nation’s ruling navy and particularly its military chief, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing. The final got here to energy in Myanmar after ousting the elected authorities of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021.

The case in opposition to all of them includes allegations that income from the sale of unlawful medicine had been laundered by means of an influence firm that Tun Min Latt and Upakit managed, although the latter claimed to have bought his curiosity when he was appointed a senator in 2019.

Myanmar is a serious producer and exporter of illicit medicine akin to methamphetamine, most of which enters Thailand for native consumption or transshipment.

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Thai and Myanmar media have reported that Upakit and Tun Min Latt have had shared pursuits in a number of corporations. together with a on line casino in Myanmar and a Thai energy firm.

Impartial media in Myanmar and activist organizations have reported that Tun Min Latt was an arms dealer for the junta. America has imposed sanctions on him, his spouse and a number of other of his corporations for his or her function in supporting the junta, which is shunned by Washington for its seizure of energy and persevering with violent repression of its opposition.

Tun Min Latt was arrested in Thailand in September final yr on drug trafficking and cash laundering costs. Arrested with him had been three Thai nationals, together with Upakit’s Thai-American son-in-law, Dean Gultula. They pleaded not responsible to the costs in January this yr and are being held pending trial.

Thailand’s Narcotics Management Board has introduced that previously few months it has carried out searches of a number of of Upakit’s residences and seized property price greater than 400 million baht ($11.5 million) on suspicion it was illegally gained.

The court docket scheduled an preliminary listening to for Could 13 to evaluation proof within the case in opposition to Upakit.

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