BANGKOK — The national anti-corruption agency said Friday that a top junta official has submitted his explanation for unusually expensive watches he didn’t disclose as legally required.
With about a week left on the clock, junta second-in-command Prawit Wongsuwan submitted a letter to the National Anti-Corruption Commission earlier this week, the agency disclosed Friday.
As for what Prawit’s Wednesday letter said about the nearly dozen undeclared watches worth millions of baht, the agency isn’t telling.
“I can’t reveal any details of his explanation now because it’s a delicate matter,” Worawit Sukboon, secretary general of the NACC said Friday. “We will investigate this case. It won’t take a long time because it’s not complicated. We’ll inform you when the investigation is done because this is in the public interest.”
It’s certainly been a delicate matter for Prawit, who has refused to speak to reporters since earlier this month, when the first of many multi-million baht watches in his recent possession were spotted.
Worawit would not say whether Prawit’s explanation addressed only the first watch he was spotted with, a Richard Mille worth over 3 million baht, or more of the watches. After the investigation is complete sometime early next year, he said the NACC would issue a summons for Prawit.
“Don’t speculate yet, let the authorities investigate first,” Worawit said when asked if Prawit had explained that the watches were gifts, an excuse he’d been rumored to offer eight days after the scandal broke.
The commission’s politically appointed chairman, police Gen. Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit, has close ties to Prawit. Asked how the commission could investigate a junta member impartially due to their ties, Worawit said people should put faith in their motto.
“The NACC has a duty to investigate the financial assets of people in political office,” Worawit said. “We would like citizens to be confident in the NACC’s work because our motto is Loyal, Just and Professional.”
The NACC had given Prawit until Jan. 8 to explain why his luxury watches were not listed among mandatory asset declarations when he assumed office after helping stage the 2014 coup.
Since the first watch was spotted on Dec. 4, amateur online sleuths have pored through photos of the 72-year-old general for additional high-end timepieces. They identified what appeared to be 10 more ultra-luxury watches as of Friday.
The eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th watches were: a Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Chronograph 5960P said to be worth 3.12 million baht, a Rolex Pro Hunter Deepsea Green worth 370,000 to 440,000 baht according to a local shop, a Richard Mille RM010 estimated at 3.26 million baht and a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona sold at 606,000 baht.
The 10th watch, according to the CSI LA page, was a Richard Mille similar to the first watch spotted but has a different watch face. They were all spotted between April 2016 and this month.