Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thai Government causes Crown Prince to lose face over unpaid foreign debts and confiscated plane in Germany

BERLIN — A plane being used by Thailand’s Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn has been impounded in Germany as part of a long-running battle with the Thai government over payments for a building project in Thailand, officials said Wednesday.

The Boeing 737 “Royal Flight” was seized on a court order, and is now being kept at Munich airport, said Robert Wilhelm, a spokesman for the airport.

The Thai government owes the now-bankrupt builder the money under a contract agreed to more than 20 years ago to build and operate a toll highway to Bangkok’s Don Muang airport, Alexander Goerbing said.

The “drastic measure” of seizing the Royal Thai Air Force’s plane amounts to “the last resort” to secure the payment, a claim that courts and a ruling by an international arbitration panel in 2009 have declared legitimate, he added.

The Crown Prince regularly uses the state-owned plane, and the German bankruptcy administrator apparently had been working for some time to get it impounded.

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