The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has issued a summons to Phrathepyanmahamuni (Phra Dhammajayo) as a suspect in the crime of conspiring to launder money and receiving stolen property.
Case number 146/2556 states that Phrathepyanmahamuni received donations in the form of 10 cheques from Mr Supachai Srisupa-aksorn, former Chairman of the Klongchan Credit Union Cooperative (KCUC), and the prosecutor of the DSI seeks to call Phrathepyanmahamuni as a witness in the lawsuit against Mr. Supachai Srisupa-aksorn.
The prosecutor in case 146/2556 has filed a lawsuit against Mr. Supachai Srisupa-aksorn, the first suspect, and his conspirators under the charge of theft from his employer. The prosecutor recommended that DSI charge the first suspect with money laundering, using a connection with special case number 63/2557 for a charge of conspiring to commit fraud against the public. An additional order states that if the first suspect is found guilty of money laundering and there is evidence that he had other conspirators, or supported money laundering, or had ties with other offenses, the investigators of the case may have the authority to take further legal actions.
Mr. Thammanoon Attachoti has accused Mr. Supachai Srisupa-aksorn of money laundering, and he has accused Phrathepyanmahamuni as a co-conspirator and the receiver of stolen property. The DSI’s investigators then separated another special case number 27/2559, which is a duplicate of the special case numbers 146/2556 and 63/2557, and contravenes the original orders by the prosecutor of Special Investigations.
Previously, Mr. Thammanoon Attachoti had accused Mr. Supachai Srisupa-aksorn and company of fraud against the public, an accusation already featured in case number 63/2557. The DSI investigators have already concluded their enquiries in both case number 63/2557 and case number 146/2556, and both cases are under consideration by the prosecutor.
By creating a new special case number 27/2559 from partial evidence given in the original case, this contravenes Thai law, which states, “One count of charge cannot be duplicated.” To accuse Phrathepyanmahamuni of receiving stolen property and money laundering, there must be evidence that he had the intention to conspire with Mr Supachai Srisupa-aksorn in embezzling KCUC money for personal use. The facts are that Phrathepyanmahamuni received the donations in front of a large group, and all the handling of cheques and donations are the responsibility of the Wat Phra Dhammakaya financial officers, who also manage the building of religious structures and other temple expenses.
Further, the donations from Mr. Supachai Srisupa-aksorn have been used to build religious structures, as requested by the donor. They were not spent for the benefit of Phrathepyanmahamuni, who has lived a life of great simplicity and purity for the past 47 years. The finances of Wat Phra Dhammakaya have previously been investigated by the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) and have been freely given to the DSI investigators.
When receiving the donations from Mr. Supachai Srisupa-aksorn, neither Prathepyanmahamuni nor the Wat Phra Dhammakaya officers were aware that they came from any illegal activity. It was assumed that the money came from Mr. Supachai’s successful and profitable business, as he also donated generously to other temples, schools, universities, public charities and government sectors. It has never been the policy of the temple to question the source of donations as is the case with many other religious and charitable organisations. Moreover, Mr. Supachai’s donation while substantial, was not the largest donation the temple has received in the past.
Following the emergence of the case against Mr. Supachai Srisupa-aksorn, the followers of Phrathepyanmahamuni raised the sum of 684,784,000 baht to assist the victims of the Credit Union, which issued a letter of appreciation and withdrew all complaints against the temple. Mr. Supachai also released a statement indicating that the money he borrowed from the Credit Union to make donations to Wat Phra Dhammakaya have already been repaid to KCUC in full.
Local media have also accused Wat Phra Dhammakaya of supporting the Pheu Thai Party which is not true. The temple has many supporters from different age groups, genders, regions, occupations and political views, but it has no involvement in politics and focuses solely on the Dhamma of Lord Buddha.
To accuse Ven. Prathepyanmahamuni of misusing temple funds is a total denial of his dedication to the cause of Buddhism. Since founding Wat Phra Dhammakaya in 1970, Phra Dhammajayo and his supporters have worked tirelessly to create the largest Buddhist temple in Thailand, with more than one million devotees, and over 4,000 monks and novices. He has helped to propagate the message of Buddhism throughout the world, with more than 80 Dhammakaya Meditation Centres in 30 countries.
The charges by the DSI against Phrathepyanmahamuni are baseless and a denial of his Human Rights. They choose to ignore the proven facts about the KCUC case, and offer no consideration about the ailing health of Luang Por Dhammajayo and the tireless work he has performed for 47 years to support Buddhist monks and temples throughout Thailand.