Thai Senator Upakit Pachariyangkun on Thursday denied having any close relationship with Myanmar tycoon Tun Min Latt, who was arrested in Bangkok on Saturday on charges of conspiring to traffic narcotics and money laundering.
Upakit, who owned a hotel business in Myanmar’s Tachileik, admitted he knew Tun Min Latt through an electricity supply business but insisted he was not involved in any “gray” business with the mogul.
Tun Min Latt, 53, was arrested along with three Thai nationals and assets worth over 200 million baht (US$5.3 million) were confiscated from the four suspects.
He was said to have business interests in hotels, energy and mining and procured supplies for Myanmar’s ruling junta. Following the tycoon’s arrest, Upakit was named as having suspected links and possibly business dealings with him.
The senator said he was not aware of the details of Tun Min Latt’s arrest but would gather more information before addressing the matter again.
Upakit said he has never had any interest in weapons procurement and that as far as he knew Tun Min Latt was just a representative coordinating between a supplier and the Myanmar government.
“And for me, let me stress this: In the past eight years since my parents died, I have followed the teachings of Buddhism. I make merit and don’t take life. I’m not in any way interested in this type of business,” he said.
Upakit said he owned a hotel business in the border town of Tachileik but sold it in 2015 before he was appointed a senator. He said he had not visited the town in eight years.
“I clarified [my assets] with the anti-graft agency before assuming the post of a senator. I have never concealed any information,” he said.
This story first appeared in The Bangkok Post.