Criminal Court sentenced ex-NIPPON chairman for corporate fraud and withdrew the asset freeze order
Bangkok, August 8, 2012 – The Criminal Court found Wichai Chaisathaporn, former chairman and president of Nippon Pack (Thailand) PLC (NIPPON), guilty of misappropriation of company assets, document falsification and false accounting record in violation of Sections 281/2, 307, 308, 311, 312, and 313 of the Securities Exchange Act B.E. 2535 (1992) (SEA). Wichai was sentenced to serve 20-year imprisonment and pay a fine of 2,540,000 baht. The jail term, however, was suspended for three years.
This follows the SEC’s criminal complaint filed with the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) on May 27, 2010 against Wichai for his fraudulent acts by misappropriating company assets and converting them to himself and other persons. He committed it by falsifying documents for securities purchasing orders to deceive the company into transferring money to his and other persons’ banking accounts as well as embezzling the company’s securities and money obtained from selling NIPPON’s investment units at the total amount of 179.6 million baht for his own benefit, causing damage to the company. He was also found forging documents related to NIPPON’s securities investments to deceive others regarding the company’s securities investment records and income statement. His wrongdoings were in violation of Clause 2 of Section 281/2 in conjunction with Sections 89/7, 307, 308, 311, 312, and 313 of the SEA. With his confession, the SEC probed into the case and found that he was guilty.
Yesterday (August 7, 2012), the Criminal Court ruled against him for violating Sections 281/2, 307, 308, 311, 312, and 313 of the SEA. As he had committed the several distinct and different offences, the Court inflicted the punishment prescribed for each offence as follows: (1) for 18 counts of dishonest and failure to discharge his duty as director with due care and loyalty, he shall be liable to 3-year imprisonment and a fine of 60,000 baht for each count, totalling 54-year imprisonment and a fine of 1,080,000 baht, (2) for dishonest and misappropriation of listed company’s assets, he shall be liable to 5-year imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 baht, (3) for 6 counts of dishonestly violating his duty as a director by any means, he shall be liable to 5-year imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 baht for each count, totalling 30-year imprisonment and a fine of 3,000,000 baht, and (4) for being a director who acted to obtain unlawful gains, falsified accounts or documents, or made incomplete or incorrect accounts, he shall be liable to 5-year imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 baht.
These made the total punishment of 94-year imprisonment and a fine of 5,080,000 baht. Since the defendant pleaded guilty, the Court reduced the punishments by half, resulting in 47-year imprisonment and a total fine of 2,540,000 baht. As the jail term for each count was not more than 10 years, the total jail term was therefore reduced to 20 years* under Section 91 of the Penal Code. Owing to the fact that the defendant made confession with the SEC, his acts had impacted particularly on NIPPON without spreading any damage to the public, and he made all compensation for the damage, it could be considered that he repented of what he had done while mitigating the injured person’s damage. Having considered the said fact, the jail term was therefore suspended for three years under Section 56 of the Penal Code. In addition, the Court revoked the freeze order against Wichai’s assets as he made repayment for all damages to the injured person and the Court already had a verdict on the case.
Vasant Thienhom, SEC Deputy Secretary-General said that “The SEC, as the capital market regulator, strictly pursues legal actions against wrongdoers to propel the whole market confidence. The success of outcome and damage alleviation for NIPPON were occurred from integrate efforts of enforcement authorities, namely inquiry officers under the Bureau of Financial and Banking Crime of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), and public prosecutors under the Department of Special Litigation of the Office of the Attorney General.”
Besides, another similar offence that the SEC filed additional criminal complaint against Wichai on April 29, 2011 is under the DSI’s investigation. NIPPON has, however, obtained the remedy for the damage in this case.
* Section 91(2) of the Penal Code prescribes that if it appears that any offender has committed the several distinct and different offences, the Court may inflict upon such offender the punishment prescribed for each offence. But the total punishment of every offence must not exceed twenty years in case of the severest offence to have the rate of the maximum punishment of imprisonment exceeding three years upwards, but not more than ten years.