BANGKOK: Thailand has seized nearly $800,000 worth of assets, including a Porsche and a Mercedes-Benz, from a monk who was disrobed for a controversial trip in a private jet, authorities said yesterday.
Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) said Wiraphon Sukphon was suspected of deceiving people to give him donations.
“Monks can receive donations and must use them for the benefit of the public, not for private use and their own personal comforts,” Police Colonel Seehanat Prayoonrat, secretary of the AMLO, said.
Wiraphon went by the name Luang Pu Nen Kham to bolster his claims to be the reincarnation of a famous miracle-performing monk.
The disgraced cleric, who is believed to be abroad, is also being sought in Thailand on suspicion of having immoral act with an underage girl around a decade ago while he was a monk, and of fathering a child with her.
The seized assets were worth a total of 24m baht ($770,000), according to the AMLO.
They include 12.8m baht of real estate as well as three cars, a Harley-Davidson motorbike, a Vespa scooter and more than 200,000 baht in 14 bank accounts.
Wiraphon caused a scandal earlier this year in Buddhist-majority Thailand after footage emerged of him with two other monks travelling in a private jet, wearing sunglasses and carrying a Louis Vuitton luxury bag.
He has since been investigated on suspicion of an array of offences including tax evasion, drug possession and money-laundering.