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Team DSI freezes properties worth B85m in graft probe

A freeze has been ordered on 78 tracts of land and buildings allegedly acquired using money defrauded from a State Railway of Thailand savings cooperative, according to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI).

A team led by Pol Lt Col Somboon Sarasit, the DSI deputy director-general, inspected the sites in question in Phetchaburi on Friday.

They were joined by local police, land officials and an inspector-general from the Department of Cooperative Promotion.

Pol Lt Col Somboon said the DSI anti-money laundering bureau had expanded its investigation into the alleged fraud at the 6,000-member State Railway of Thailand (SRT) club cooperative and found money defrauded from members had been spent acquiring large pieces of land in Phetchaburi, Nonthaburi and Bangkok.

Investigators linked the embezzled funds were linked to a network of officials led by a former SRT club executive.

The land purchases were carried out to launder substantial sums withdrawn from the cooperative’s bank accounts, he said.

The 78 tracts of land and buildings bought included six land plots in Thawi Watthana district of Bangkok; seven apartments in Pak Kret district of Nonthaburi; 23 lots in a housing estate in Muang district of Phetchaburi; and 49 plots in Kaeng Krachan district of Phetchaburi.

The land and buildings are worth a total of about 85 million baht, according to Pol Lt Col Somboon.

A freeze has been put on the assets and the DSI is expediting its investigation so that ownership of the assets could be diverted to cooperative members as soon as possible, he said.

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