Thailand: Owner of Leicester City Faces $422M Graft Suit

Published: 14 November 2017

800px-Terminal de laéroport international de BangkokBangkok International Airport (Photo: domaine public)

By Renee Picard

On Monday, a Thai court approved a multi million-dollar lawsuit against King Power, the company that owns the English football club Leicester City, reported The Guardian.

King Power quickly rose to wealth in 2006, after creating a duty-free monopoly from its franchise at Bangkok International Airport. In the corruption charges, King Power allegedly colluded with airport employees to pay the government 3% of duty-free revenues, versus the 15% required in contract. As a result, the company is accused of failing to pay the Thai government US$ 422 million.

King Power is owned and run by the Leicester chairman, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, and his family. Srivaddhanaprabha has an estimated worth of US$ 4.9 billion. The company bought Leicester City in 2010, and funded the club’s rise to win the 2015-2016 Premier League Championship.

Charnchai Issarasenanark, a former anti-corruption official, filed the lawsuit against King Power in July, listing Thailand’s Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha as the second witness. The suit was also filed against 14 executives from Airports of Thailand (AOT), a public operator of six Thai airports. King Power responded saying they would fervently defend any case brought to trial.

“The allegations in question…are categorically denied,” Srivaddhanaprabha’s son Aiyawatt, a King Power chief executive, said in a statement.

“King Power has always followed and been absolutely committed to the highest standards in proper and ethical business practice. We are proud of our company’s good name and honest reputation,” he added.

Bangkok’s Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases took on the case Monday, and said it would begin hearing witness testimony next year on Feb. 12, according to Reuters.