Monday 20 November 2017

Buddhist monk filmed enjoying the high-life on private jet has assets frozen

Rob Williams

AN extravagant Buddhist monk, who was filmed enjoying the high-life on board a private jet, has had his assets frozen after a group of activists lodged a complaint with Thailand's Anti-Money Laundering (Amlo) Office.

The footage of Luang Pu Nenkham Chattigo went viral last month along with images of monks looking at iPhones and drinking Starbucks coffee.


The pictures and the video are dramatically at odds with the perception that Buddhist clergy shun worldly living in order to attain spiritual enlightenment.


According to reports, Thailand’s National Office of Buddhism, which is charged with promoting Buddhist affairs, has received a number of complaints about the images and the video.


Last week they condemned the images as "indecent" but said they did not consitute “serious offences” or breach monastic rules.


The most high-profile of the monks, Luang Pu Nenkham Chattigo, 34, has since been accused in media reports of having sexual relationships with at least eight women as well as fathering two children.


According to accusations carried in the Bangkok Post the controversial monk also has numerous "financial irregularities" including 16 bank accounts shared between him and his aides, ten of which have more than 200 million baht (over £4m)  in constant circulation.


The Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) revealed details of the alleged financial 'discrepancies' on Tuesday and banned the monk and his associates from transferring any of their assets until they have investigated further.


The deputy secretary-general of Amlo Captain Suwanee Sawaengphol quoted in the Bangkok Post said: "I want to warn the Luang Pu Nenkham network and Luang Pu himself that they can't move assets in the bank accounts because doing so will immediately fall into the category of money-laundering."


In Thailand money-laundering can be punished by a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

Independent News Service

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