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Prawit Wongsuwan (Thai: ประวิตร วงษ์สุวรรณ; IPA:[prà.wít wōŋ.sù.wān]; born 11 August 1945) served as Minister of Defence of Thailand from 2008 to 2011 and from 2014 to 2019. He is the deputy chairman of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and also holds the post of deputy prime minister. From 2004 to 2005 he was the commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army (RTA). From 2008 to 2011 he was Thailand's defence minister.
2014 coup d'état
According to Paul Sanderson, writing for New Mandala, Prawit is "widely considered the architect of the 2014 coup".
After the 22 May 2014 coup d'état, the junta appointed Prawit chairman of its "advisory board". On 31 August 2014 he was appointed deputy prime minister and minister of defence in Prayut's cabinet. On 16 September he was also appointed deputy chairman of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). In his multiple roles, Prawit sits on "...more than 50 committees".
In December 2017 the National Anti-corruption Commission (NACC) opened an investigation into Prawit's asset disclosures. The NACC gave Prawit until 8 January 2018 to clarify why some Prawit assets, such as the 18 luxury watches that had been identified at the time, were not listed on his mandatory asset declarations when he took office after the 2014 coup d'etat. As more watch disclosures became public, the NACC extended Prawit's deadline to 19 January. On 29 December, Worawit Sukboon, secretary general of the NACC said, "We will investigate this case. It won't take a long time because it's not complicated." By law, political office-holders as well as high-ranking officials must report their assets before assuming their posts and after they leave the posts. They are not required to declare assets while in office. He is said to have filed asset declarations on 22 December 2008 when he became defence minister under Abhisit Vejjajiva; on 10 August 2011 when stepping down from that role; on 9 August 2012, one year after stepping down from his previous role; and on 4 September 2014 when he became deputy prime minister and defence minister. On 6 January the Bangkok Post estimated the value of Prawit's 16 then-known timepieces at "...up to 22M[illion baht]" (US$685,000). Since 6 January an additional nine watches have been identified by the Facebook site, CSI_LA, bringing Prawit's total to 25 timepieces, altogether worth almost 40 million baht. Prawit claims they were all loaned to him by friends.
|No.||Brand||Model||Est. price (baht)||1||Richard Mille||RM029||2,500,000|
|3||Rolex||Cosmograph Daytona Ice Blue Dial Platinum||1,800,000|
|5||Audemars Piguet||Royal Oak Chronograph Automatic Blue Dial||800,000|
|8||Patek Philippe||Annual Calendar Chronograph 5960P||1,900,000|
|9||Rolex||Pro Hunter Deepsea Blue||800,000|
|11||Rolex||Cosmograph Daytona, in 18K yellow gold and stainless steel||554,000|
|12||Rolex||Yacht Master Rose Gold 2-tone||460,000|
|13||Audemars Piguet||Royal Oak 15400 Stainless Steel||580,000|
|14||Rolex||Datejust Oyster 41||413,000|
|15||Patek Philippe||Aquanaut 5167R-001 in 18K rose gold||1,150,000|
|17||Rolex||GMT Master II||1,360,000|
|18||Patek Philippe||5135R Calendario Annual Calendar||1,500,000|
|19||A. Lange & Söhne||1815 Chronograph, silver dial in 18k rose gold||1,500,000|
|20||Patek Philippe||Gold Perpetual Calendar||3,600,000|
|21||Patek Philippe||Classic Chronograph||2,600,000|
|23||Patek Philippe||Complications 5396/1G-001||2,300,000|
|24||Rolex||Cosmograph Daytona, Ivory dial||1,000,000|
|25||Patek Philippe||Complications Annual Calendar||1,500,000|
On 9 January 2018, NACC president, Pol Gen Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit, announced he had taken personal charge of the Prawit watch investigation. He promised a "...'professional, transparent' [inquiry], although it will take some time." NACC secretary-general Worawit Sukboon asked the media not to ask about the matter again until "early next month" (February 2018).
The Association to Protect the Thai Constitution, a watchdog group, petitioned the NACC to investigate Prawit for possible false declaration of assets and concealing information that must be declared to the agency. The organisation also accused Prawit of being unusually wealthy under Section 66 of the National Anti-Corruption Act. "Gen Prawit served in the army for about 40 years and was a political office holder for two terms, without any businesses. He could not possibly acquire such a great deal of wealth, a spokesman said. In 2008, Prawit declared assets of 57 million baht. In his 2014 declaration, his assets had risen to 87 million baht.