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August 10, 2011

Germany Returns Impounded Jet of Thailand’s Crown Prince

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Written by: BNO News
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The royal jet that was impounded at a German airport last month in order to settle a dispute between the Thai government and a German construction company was released after the government agreed to pay a bond for its release, Thai News Agency MCOT reported on Wednesday.

The Thai Crown Prince 737-400 HS-CMV at Paris-Le Bourget Airport

The Thai Crown Prince's 737-400 (HS-CMV) at Paris-Le Bourget Airport. (Photo by Jerome K)

Former Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Tuesday that the impounded Boeing 737 jet belonging to Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn was released after the Thai government posted a 38 million euro ($54 million) bond. Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, former secretary to former foreign minister Kasit Piromya, said Thailand would appeal the royal jet impound case.

“There are no grounds for seizing the aircraft once the bond has been put up in full,” Chavanond said, adding that the Thai ambassador to Germany has been working with German state authorities to secure the release of the royal jet.

Germany seized the aircraft used by the Crown Prince while it was parked at Munich airport on July 12, arguing that the Asian country has an unpaid debt to the German construction company.

Werner Schneider, the insolvency administrator for the Walter Bau construction group, is demanding over €30 million ($42.4 million) from the Thai government because a payment was allegedly never received when German construction firm Dywidag helped build a 26-kilometer (16.2-mile) road between Bangkok and the city’s airport over 20 years ago.

The Landshut State Court of Germany initially ruled last month that the Thai crown prince’s aircraft did not belong to the Thai government and agreed to release it on the condition that a 20 million euro ($28.4 million) bank guarantee must be deposited.

The Thai government refused the German demand, arguing that the jet is the personal property of the prince and not the government. In a statement, however, the Crown Prince said that he respected the court order and was confident in Germany’s justice system.

The Southern District Court of New York last year ruled in favor of Walter Bau and ordered Thailand to compensate the firm, but Thailand’s Office of the Attorney-General has appealed the ruling.

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