Saturday, 20 June 2015

Pattaya, 19th June 2011

David Hanks - should never have been arrrested

A Thai Court was told this week that an expat business man on trial in Thailand on illegal money lending and usury charges should never have been arrested, never mind prosecuted.

David Hanks, 67, formerly from Girvan in Ayrshire, was on trial for allegedly funding a Russian illegal money lending syndicate.  Over a five day trial the Court was told there was not a single shred of evidence to justify Hanks being charged.

A second defendant, Alexander Komondorskiy, who worked for a Russian syndictae failed to show for trial and an arrest warrant was issued for him.

The Court heard that a member of a rival Russian syndicate, working with corrupt officers of Thailand's so called elite Department of Special Investigations (DSI) in Pattaya, had informed on a Russian national, Ayrat Khabiryanov. who was known to Hanks.

The Court was told that after Khabiryanov was arrested he was threatened to keep quiet so that the rival Russian syndicate could take over the lucrative illegal money lending business- with the promise that no legal issues would befall them as they would have the protection of the DSI - the plan was revealed after a post appeared on a Russian social networking site saying the DSI were offering to pay witnesses to make false statements.

Ayrat Khabiryanov in the red t-shirt after his arrest in June 2013
Khabiryanov, now 27,  pictured right, was arrested in a high profile operation in June 2013 - but has since absconded.

Hanks told the Court he knew Khabiryanov because Hanks has invested in a beauty pageant in December 2012 and January 2013 along with a number of prominent local businessman, and the Mayor of Pattaya, Ittipol Khunplume.

One particular police officer was unable to explain why Hanks had been arrested when 16 Russian witnesses had failed to identify him, but had instead identified a 'David' who had a different address, a different physical description, and was at least 20 years Hanks' junior.

The Court was told the high ranking police officer had obtained a search warrant and arrest warrant for another foreigner called 'David' at a different address - but subsequently arrested Hanks who had a completely different physical description. The warrant was for 'David' at another address and was for a man in his 40's - Hanks is 67.

A high ranking DSI officer, who has already been transferred amid allegations of corruption, was named as being at the centre of the proposed illegal money lending and protection scam.

Two DSI officers told the Court that two Russian men, 'Alex' and 'Pavel' were alleged by police to have pointed to a photo of  Hanks and identified him, but in cross examination by Hanks' lawyer, Sanya Namnaphon, police were forced to admit that in their vigour to close the case, they had failed to remove a time stamp from the photo that showed the photo was only available to police nine months after Hanks was arrested.

Hanks' lawyers also asked the Court to investigate why information about the case had been leaked to the Press, and why he had been wrongfully linked to a fourth Russian Man, Alexander Matsov, an infamous Russian Mafia figure who was not involved in the case at all.

Hanks made no comment after the close of the trial as he has been told for legal reasons he must wait for the judgement of the Court.

The Court will render its verdict on 18th August at 0900hrs.

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