OAG decides to indict 12 Philip Morris execs

Bangkok Post, 3 Oct

The Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) has decided to indict 12 executives of Philip Morris (Thailand) for allegedly under-declaring the value of its products to evade taxes.

Attorney-General Athapol Yaisawang on Wednesday said former office chief Julasingh Vasantasingh had agreed to indict 12 out of 14 suspects, including four foreigners. Mr Julasingh signed the indictments before he retired on Oct 1.

The suspects were alleged to have understated the price of imported cigarettes of Marlboro and L&M from the Philippines so that the firm could pay lower excise tax.

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI ) last year gave the OAG the results of its investigation into allegations Philip Morris (Thailand) under-reported the value of its tobacco imports and underpaid import taxes between 2003 and 2007. The alleged deception is thought to have cost the state 68 billion baht in lost tax revenues.

According to Mr Athapol who became attorney general on Oct 1, he did not run a case check initially because Mr Julasingh had handled it previously and decided to press for indictments.

The probe results will be sent to the OAG executive director who was responsible for the case before the indictments are filed with the court, he said.

The DSI earlier filed charges against the suspects and sought arrest warrants. However, public prosecutors later decided not to indict them.

DSI chief Tarit Pengdith then submitted more legal views on the case with the intention of filing charges against the 14 suspects.

Read more: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/372720/oag-decides-to-indict-12-philip-morris-execs.