Mr. Prakit Pilangkasa, Committee Chairman for the Revival of Klongchan Credit Union Cooperative (KCUC) speaks out after Mr. Thammanoon Attichoti and Mr. Paiboon Koomchaya urges DSI to expedite the case on 10 May 2016
Full video in Thai
Transcript of the 12 May 2016 KCUC Press Conference:
Klongchan Credit Union Corporative (KCUC) has tens of thousands of members, and he [Mr. Thammanoon] is just one of the members. Recently, we’ve created a recovery plan to repay our debts to our members and creditors, so it’s not unusual to hear differing opinions on this matter. This plan was proposed by the current Board of Directors. Mr. Thammanoon is a member who is entitled to his views, and his views are independent of our present plans. He has been engaging in activities for some time now that expresses views which oppose those of the Board. I’ve only come to learn of his actions at DSI yesterday after watching Mr. Paiboon’s interview.
Q: Does KCUC support yesterday’s action by Mr. Thammanoon, Mr. Paiboon, and Mr. Mano [Laohavanich]?
A: It has nothing to do with us. Let’s take them one by one. Mr. Mano gives an interview that portrays the credit union negatively; so we are consulting our lawyers whether legal action can be taken. Mr. Paiboon has absolutely nothing to do with us. All we know is that as a political figure he has a certain responsibility in society and influence. We all know what his personal opinions are on such things. He has no ties with KCUC whatsoever. Mr. Thammanoon is the only one out of the trio who actually has ties with KCUC. He is free to express his opinions. Whether his actions are disliked or violate anyone’s rights, the victims will have to make that evaluation themselves.
Q: Has Mr. Thammanoon ever demonstrated similar behaviors at the credit union?
A: He has regularly expressed his disagreements with the Board of Directors’ actions through various social media outlets. The differing of opinions are often expressed as criticisms, and they are views that anyone can have. The board has the duty to carry out its policies and follow its plans. Although Mr Thammanoon’s views differ from the board’s, we do not criticize him. If any of his ideas were useful, we will take them into consideration. However, we will not implement ideas that we disagree with.
Q: Is Mr Thammanoon’s recent action beneficial to KCUC members?
A: As I’ve said earlier, we have many members. Some of the members suffered from the crisis, which have been reflected through different means: some extreme, some peaceful. I’m quite certain that many of the members have questions about the plausibility of Mr. Thammanoon’s ideas. I believe that the majority of them believe in our plan for recovery. When we had our meeting to vote on this plan, 88% [of the board of directors] were in favor because 80% of all members agreed with this plan of action. Mr. Thammanoon was part of the group that disagreed, but since we follow a democratic structure, we must follow the action plan voted by the majority.
Q: There was a letter submitted to DSI Director, saying that the special funds from the supporters of Wat Phra Dhammakaya were given to the KCUC to urge the credit union to withdraw both civil and criminal lawsuits against Ven. Dhammajayo, and only a partial amount of the funds were given, a portion of the funds that were said to be the actions of these 2 individuals. The funds were not meant to be a refund, but came with a clause that it may be recalled by law, even though Ven Dhammajayo and Wat Phra Dhammakaya have over a billion that a lawsuit may be filed for. If the credit union filed a serious lawsuit against them, you may receive all the money back with interest to repay the members. The agreement clause was written in favor of Ven. Dhammajayo, and not the credit union’s members.
How would you clarify this issue that also alleged the credit union?
A: The recovery plan must find funding to repay debts that include debt to tens of thousands of members, and over 70 other credit unions, amounting to 18 billion baht. Therefore, the source of these funds must come from several places, as the plan states. One of the sources is the funds from the lawsuits against Mr. Supachai and associates. A large sum of money was taken from the credit union through Mr. Supachai’s cheques. It is a lot of money compared to the amount the temple received. Yes, the temple has a lot of assets. In reality, we filed civil lawsuits against Mr. Supachai, Wat Phra Dhammakaya, and Most Ven. Dhammajayo. We never filed any criminal lawsuits against the temple. We have been in contact with the temple about refunding the donations since we saw that it was the member’s money, used wrongly by Mr. Supachai. The supporters of the temple wanted the problem to cease and to preserve the image of the abbot, so they raised the funds themselves to help the members of the credit union. It was not Ven. Dhammajayo’s money. On our side, we filed many lawsuits against Mr. Supachai and never got a dime because the cases have not concluded. The prosecutors made a decision, but the refund never arrived. We currently have one billion baht in funds. The first amount of 684 million was the first sum which we will use to repay the members this June. If anyone said that the funds from the supporters of the temple was not helpful, that is not true. The only reason we could repay any of the debtors is because of the temple. This is the truth.
Q: Lastly, what would you like to say to the third party joining KCUC members and causing lots of confusion?
A: I’ve very disappointed in the non-members who joined the mob. The information they gave was information from Mr. Thammanoon because he has said the same things many times before. The third party who joined yesterday just repeated Mr. Thammanoon’s opinions.
Q: Do you have anything to say to the supporters of Wat Phra Dhammakaya?
A: The members realize that the amount of money received to aid us was not a small amount. To be honest, it wasn’t even their obligation to sacrifice that much money. It was an act arising from their faith. The credit union would like to thank the supporters. Though there were clauses and agreements that came with the money, they were all reasonable.
Q: What’s the truth behind the 6% interest on this 600 million from the supporters of the temple? Any truth to the supporters tagging on a 6% interest to the 600 plus million funds?
A: I’ve never heard about this 6% interest before.
Q: The funds were not meant to only help, but it came with interest.
A: The credit union has a plan to help affected members by allowing for loans no larger than 50,000 baht. We will charge a 6% interest. Let me be clear. We are not using the temple’s money, 684 million, which will be used in June. The loan that has 6% interest is from another sum of funds. Each month we will allocate about 10 million to be borrowed and allow members in need to take out a maximum loan of 50,000 baht at 6% interest.
Q: Are the funds that the temple supporters gave to the KCUC subject to recall?
A: There is an agreement because it is not the abbot’s money that’s being returned. It is a fund raised with the agreement that if in the future, the court decided what Mr. Supachai took wasn’t KCUC’s money, we will have to return the funds to the supporters. This is just hypothetical.
Q: What about the accusation that in exchange for the money you will not pursue legal actions against Luang Por [Ven. Dhammajayo]?
A: Only the court can decide who is right or wrong. What we did was for the benefit of the credit union’s members.
Q: Mr. Thammanoon tried to show that his actions yesterday represented the attitude of all 50,000 members. He acted on behalf of all members, filing a criminal lawsuit for receiving stolen property. Is he a representative for all the members?
A: When we watched the news and the newscaster asks anyone a question, they always claim to be representing the people. I don’t think it’s that way. Real members would know who is who. Who agrees with Thammanoon, and who are outsiders. For outsiders, I think they should try to learn the situation fully first.
Q: What will be the consequences of Mr. Thammanoon’s press exposure?
A: It will create a bad image for the credit union. This would hinder the plan of action. Debtors who hold a net worth of over 9 billion baht agreed, with 80% confidence, with the plan of action. Even the government agreed to help find funds if the members were in favor. Even the court was sure that the government wouldn’t abandon the credit union. Therefore, the plan was sanctioned by many sectors. People who disagree would not know if their own ideas would be guaranteed to work better than our plan or not.