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Thais refuse to pay guarantee on prince's seized jet

The Local · 21 Jul 2011, 14:12

Published: 21 Jul 2011 14:12 GMT+02:00

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The decision not to fork out the €20 million ($28 million) ordered by a German court in exchange for Maha Vajiralongkorn's Boeing 737 adds a further twist to an uncomfortable episode that has threatened ties between the nations.

"We are confident that the aircraft belongs to the crown prince. He is not involved with this case and the documents are very solid, so there is no need to pay the guarantee of €20 million,” said Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya.

The aircraft was seized at Munich airport on June 12 in a long-running dispute with the receivers of an insolvent German construction firm who say they are owed almost €40 million ($57 million).

But on Wednesday a court in nearby Landshut said it had received an assurance under oath from the Thai Department of Civil Aviation's director that the plane belonged to the prince, not the Thai state, as well as a 2007 registration certificate.

The deputy chief justice of the court, Christoph Fellner, said however that since these documents provided only a "presumption of ownership," a bank guarantee had to be paid.

Kasit, speaking to reporters after returning from Germany, said the court was in possession of documents submitted by the Thai government and would make a final ruling on ownership in August.

"The plane will be parked in the German airport until the case is resolved," he said.

The court said it set the guarantee to reflect the estimated value of the plane, which the prince is said to often pilot himself.

Kasit flew to Berlin following the seizure of the aircraft, calling the incident a "huge mistake" and meeting a senior German foreign ministry official to press for the plane's release.

The German government had stressed that it was a matter for the courts.

The spat goes back more than 20 years to the involvement of Germany's DYWIDAG, which merged with construction firm Walter Bau in 2001, in building a motorway link between Bangkok and Don Muang airport.

Story continues below…

After "numerous breaches of contract by the Thai government," Walter Bau,

by then insolvent, in 2007 claimed for damages.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:35 July 21, 2011 by TheCrownPrince
No money, no plane!
15:52 July 21, 2011 by The-ex-pat
A dangerous game to play, Lufthansa and Air Berlin have major routes in and out of Thailand. Grounding and aircraft or delaying an aircraft because it's papers are not in order or because of a scratch in the paintwork is easier than even thinking about it. Also, what Muppet decided that a 16 year old 737-400 is worth €20 million, you would be lucky to get €5 million for it on a good day!!
02:14 July 23, 2011 by Chaoyang
I found this page informative for some background on the Thai royal family:

07:21 July 26, 2011 by Kobphong Neowakul
This case is getting more and more complicated ! The Germen courts should stated directly that the documents were not acceptable. They, therefore, have to set the bank guarantee the ensure the payment for the German firm and to ease the pressure of ill felling that is happing in Thailand towards Germany. Moreover, letting the world know that the court ruling is fair and cannot be influence by politic and others body of powers. Sometimes, we have to bare the truth that our governments did'nt do their jobs well and this is the result. Troubles !!!
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