Early last month, lawyers for the opposition leader and two others accused in the case were told that a decision would be announced today. Mr Thanathorn still faces a Constitutional Court case over his alleged illegal media shareholding in a company called V-Luck Media Co. Ltd that the court took up in May.
The Office of the Attorney General today let lawyers for the Future Forward Party leader and two other defendants know that they were not recommending prosecution of a case against the three under the Computer Crime Act which has been hanging over the 40-year-old leader and his associates since summer last year.
There was some good news for embattled Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit on Tuesday when his lawyer was informed by telephone that the Thai Attorney General had decided to recommend that charges in the case that has been the subject of an ongoing investigation against him and two others over a Facebook broadcast last year should be dropped.
Police will be advised to drop the case
The decision means that the Attorney General will recommend that police take no further proceedings under Thailand’s draconian Computer Crime Act. The case followed a complaint by a military officer attached to the junta last year to the police after comments made by Mr Thanathorn about the election plans of key politicians associated with the former government as the military-controlled regime navigated the course of the country back towards democratic rule.
The broadcast was on June 26th last year. The junta itself, the National Council for Peace and Order was disbanded when the cabinet took office in mid-July this year.
Confirmation awaited from the AG’s Office
News of the case being dropped was received by Future Forward lawyer Worawit Nitiborrirak although media outlets have been reporting that they have yet to receive an official confirmation from the Attorney General’s Office on the case.
Advised by lawyers to have bail ready for today
The 40-year old Future Forward leader and his two co-accused were advised last month by their lawyer to have bail resources ready in case the charges against them were to proceed.
Constitutional Court took up media shareholding case in May after referral from the Election Commission
The young leader is still facing a Constitutional Court case over an alleged illegal media shareholding which was referred to it by the Election Commission and taken up by the court in May this year. The court, at that point, suspended Mr Thanathorn’s activities as an MP while it considered the complaint relating to a company called V-Luck Media Co. Ltd. which Mr Thanthorn has consistently claimed he had disposed of his shares in. The company published an inflight magazine for a Thai airline.
Case revolves around date which Mr Thanthorn resigned as a shareholder in a magazine firm
The case was referred to the court after the Election Commission found that the Department of Business Development showed Mr Thanathorn to be shareholder up until March 21st this year and therefore in breach of the election law when he applied to become an MP with the Election Commission in early February.
The commission contends that consequently, Mr Thanathorn was not a qualified candidate. Mr Thanthorn’s lawyers have argued that the paperwork to remove him as a shareholder was complete before the submission of his candidacy to the commission but that the change in his shareholding status was not registered until later.
Future Forward polled 18% of the votes resulting in 81 seats in the March 24th election
The Future Forward leader’s party did extremely well in the March 24th election emerging with 18% of the vote and 81 seats supported by young, urban and more educated voters than the other main parties.
New probe into US lobbying firm
Last week, the deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan also indicated that the government will be investigating a lobbying contract between Mr Thanathorn leading US lobbying firm APCO Worldwide which runs to the end of the year.
There followed some suggestion by supporters of the government that the firm may have been linked to anti-government PR activity during the prime minister’s trip last week to the United States.
However, the Future Forward Party has vigorously denied this, pointing out that the contract and arrangement was no secret and necessary for a trip by the young politician to the United States, days before the new Thai cabinet was inaugurated in mid-July.