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Thailand to Pursue Seizure of Crown Prince Plane in German Court

Thailand’s government said it will seek the release of an aircraft owned by Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn seized by liquidators in Munich last month as part of a bankruptcy dispute in German courts.

The crown prince will no longer need to provide his personal funds to secure the release, outgoing Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya told reporters today in Bangkok. The decision to follow legal channels follows a statement from the crown prince’s secretariat on July 31 saying he would use his personal funds to recover the airplane.

Werner Schneider, the insolvency administrator for builder Walter Bau AG (WTB), seized a Boeing 737 belonging to the crown prince on July 11 to force payment on a 30 million euro ($42.6 million) claim against the Thai state, the company said last month.

The crown prince “has no connection with the dispute between the Thai government and Walter Bau, and didn’t cause the dispute,” his secretariat said in the July 31 statement.

A 2009 decision by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, or Uncitral, ordered Thailand to pay Walter Bau more than 30 million euros for breaching a bilateral investment treaty between Germany and Thailand. The order found that Thailand’s government breached the terms of a toll road concession operated by a venture partly owned by Walter Bau.

Plane Deposit

A Berlin court ruled on July 20 that Thailand must deposit 20 million euros to secure the release of the aircraft, according to the crown prince’s statement.

The insolvency administrator took action after Thailand ignored its requests for payment, which received assistance from the German government, Werner Schneider said on July 13. The crown prince’s statement didn’t say how much will be paid.

German authorities last month removed a travel ban on former Thai premier, Thaksin Shinawatra, the Nation newspaper reported on July 30, citing Noppadon Pattama, his lawyer and a former Thai foreign minister. Thaksin has lived in Dubai since fleeing a 2008 jail term for abuse of power.

Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, is scheduled to be chosen as Thailand’s first female prime minister later this week after leading her Pheu Thai party to victory in the country’s July 3 election.

The crown prince is the only son of head of state King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 83. Thai law imposes a jail sentence of up to 15 years for defaming, insulting or threatening the king, queen, heir apparent or regent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Supunnabul Suwannakij in Bangkok at ssuwannakij@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tony Jordan at tjordan3@bloomberg.net

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