At the press conference to declare the DSI’s investigation of the controversial limited edition vintage car, Mercedes-Benz Model 300 B carrying license plate number “ขม 0099” to the public to dispel public suspicion and criticism of indiscriminate investigation, DSI director Pol Col Phaisit Wongmuang said all steps that the classic car was imported, declared, assembled, registered were all wrong in order to avoid the high import duty, and excise tax.
The first owner as shown on the registration handbook is Somdet Phra Mangkhlajarn, abbot of Wat Pak Nam temple, the supreme patriarch nominee, and no one else, he said.
He said registration of this limited edition car with the Land Transport Department in August 2011 was also found to use forged signature of a person, use a name of company which did not exist in order to avoid taxes.
He said the car was imported in parts with the body and chassis shipped from the United States on 17 September and engine on 19 September 2010.
Other parts were declared to be bought from a local company in the country which did not exist as thorough check of its commercial registration had shown no such company was ever registered.
He said that as the import of this car involved many people, the DSI would treat the case as a special case because it is a sensitive case that might have impact on the peace and order of the country.
He added the DSI would look into more suspects in the conspiracy so legal action could be taken against them.
Earlier Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said he will not forward the supreme patriarch nominee to the King for approval as long as conflicts over the appointment are not settled.
Gen Prayut said he did not want to disturb the King who is still sick.
Somdet Phra Mangkhlajarn or widely known as Somdet Chuang was earlier named nominee to the supreme patriarch top Buddhism position by the Sangha Council of Thailand. He is currently acting in the position of supreme patriarch.
His nomination drew outcry from many people with reason that as long as all allegations against him are not cleared, he is not deserved the top position.
He also was known to have close connection with the abbot of Dhammakaya temple, Phra Dhammachayo, who is facing defrocking call by some former assemblymen and the activist monk Phra Buddha-issara, over fishy land ownership and embezzlement of funds of Credit Union Klongchan.