Thai court takes up case against owner of Leicester City

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri, chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and players pose with the trophy as they celebrate winning the Barclays Premier League in Leicester May 7, 2016. — Action Images pic via Reuters
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri, chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and players pose with the trophy as they celebrate winning the Barclays Premier League in Leicester May 7, 2016. — Action Images pic via Reuters

BANGKOK, Nov 13 — A Thai criminal court this morning accepted a 14 billion baht (RM1.7 billion) lawsuit brought against Thai duty-free giant King Power International, the company that owns English Premier League football club Leicester City.

The Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases in Bangkok said it had accepted the case, and would hear witnesses on February 12 next year.

Anti-graft official Charnchai Issarasenanark filed the suit in July against the duty-free retailer, which is owned by billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and his family.

It accuses King Power of criminally failing to pay the Thai government 14 billion baht from the operation of the airport franchise it was granted in 2006.

The suit was also brought against executives from the state-owned airport operator, Airports of Thailand (AOT) .

King Power and AOT were not immediately available for comment.

Self-made businessman Vichai founded King Power in 1989.

The duty-free business took off in 2006 when it was granted an airport monopoly under the government of then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, but it continued to prosper even after Thaksin’s ouster in a coup that year.

Vichai bought Leicester City in August 2010.

The family’s empire also includes Belgian football club, Oud-Heverlee Leuven, Accor’s Pullman hotels in Thailand and a controlling stake in Asia Aviation Pcl, operator of low-cost carrier Thai AirAsia.  — Reuters