Court held that ฿300 million was far too enormous a sum to have been made retailing coffee or from the disposal of his 4 shop coffee chain as Van Laarhoven had claimed. It also found no evidence to support the Dutch national’s assertions.

The Thai Supreme Court has made the final legal ruling in the case of Dutchman Johan Van Laarhoven jailed in Thailand in 2015 for money laundering. It upheld the conviction against him but commuted his sentence to 20 years in prison in a ruling issued on Tuesday.

johan-van-laarhoven-thailand-supreme-court-guilty-dutchman-coffee-shops-netherlands-330-million-baht
59-year-old Johan van Laarhoven with his 37-year-old Thai wife Mingkwan Kaen-in in happier times. The Dutchman has repeatedly claimed that the ฿300 million he brought to Thailand was legal and the proceeds of the sale of his coffee shop chain in the Netherlands. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court rejected his evidence saying the amount was too enormous to have been made in the coffee shop business.

The Thai Supreme court today delivered the final legal verdict in the ongoing case of 59-year-old Johan Van Laarhoven who has been imprisoned in Thailand since 2004 on money laundering charges linked with the sale of drugs in the Netherlands. It upheld the conviction affirmed by the lower courts.

Court commuted Dutchman’s sentence to 20 years

The court, however, bearing in mind the full and extensive evidence to the court given by the accused, commuted Van Laarhoven’s 75-year sentence to 50 years and reduced it again to twenty years which is the maximum term of imprisonment under Thailand’s laws on money laundering. The court commuted the 15-year term of Mr Van Laarhoven’s 37-year old Thai wife, Mingkwan Kaen-in, to seven years and 4 months.

Dutchman operated  4 coffee shops in the Netherlands which sold coffee and marijuana

The judge heard evidence from Van Laarhoven that the money brought to Thailand and invested in properties and a luxury lifestyle after he retired to the kingdom was made legally in the Netherlands where he ran a successful chain of  4 coffee shops in Den Bosch and Tilburg which also sold cannabis or marijuana which is legal in the Netherlands where shops are allowed to stock limited quantities of the drug for that purpose.

Transferred ฿300 million to Thailand when he retired in 2008 – Court held it too large an amount to have been made from the sale of coffee

It is estimated that the Dutchman transferred ฿300 million to Thailand when he settled in the kingdom following his retirement in 2008. The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that it had been given insufficient evidence to support the former business man’s claims and it held that the amount of money concerned was too enormous to have been made selling coffee.

Arrested with his Thai wife when police raided their home in 2014 on drug money laundering charges

The couple were arrested by Thai place on July 23rd 2014 in a large raid on their home in the Sattahip area of Chonburi near Pattaya. Following his arrest, Thai authorities seized land and property including 8 title deeds, five high-end luxury cars and further assets reported to be worth over ฿100 million.

Van Laarhoven’s evidence was that the money was from the sale of his profitable coffee shop chain

Van Laarhoven’s evidence to the court was that the ฿300 million transferred to Thailand originated in the Netherlands and was the proceeds of the sale of his coffee shop chain there. 

Supreme Court found a pattern of concealment in Van Laarhoven’s banking transactions

However, the Thai court noted that the funds had been transferred via Germany, Luxembourg and Singapore in 15 different transactions. The court also noted that there were 28 separate withdrawals. The court concluded that the cash was withdrawn to purchase properties and in such a way as to conceal the source of the funds.

Further reading:

Dutch Justice Minister flies to Bangkok to discuss the case of Dutchman jailed for 75 yrs

More foreign nationals in Thai prison but there are conflicting reports on harsh conditions

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