Supercar importer sues DSI for B50m
‘Boy Unity’ dares DSI to prove wrongdoing
Supercar importer Panusak Techaterasiri, aka Boy Unity, has filed a 50-million-baht lawsuit against the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) after its raids to seize allegedly illegal cars from his showrooms dealt his company a heavy financial blow.
The two showrooms, run by STT Autocar Co on Ratchadaphisek and Sukhumvit roads, have not been able to do business since May 23, following the DSI raids which Mr Panusak said were carried out unlawfully.
He yesterday insisted 34 luxury cars belonging to his company impounded by the DSI were imported and priced properly and challenged the department to prove otherwise with solid evidence.
The cars are among 160 luxury cars seized by DSI investigators during their raids on many showrooms in Bangkok during May 18 and 24, following suspicions their prices were falsely under declared to avoid the country’s high import duties.
Mr Panusak claimed he had hired a “shipping company” to import the cars and handle the documents and customs procedures for which he was required to pay up to 328% tax for each car.
But what happened was the DSI raided his shops with no permission or evidence of any wrongdoing, he claimed.
“They used force and placed the cars to block showroom entrances without [search] warrants from courts,” Mr Panusak said.
He also questioned another DSI claim that some of the confiscated l uxury cars were stolen from foreign countries, mainly Britain.
A green Lamborghini he imported on Feb 2 this year was also implicated by the DSI in a theft case, according to media reports. It is true police and customs officials then suspected the car might have been imported illegally, but after an inspection of its documents, they found no irregularities, Mr Panusak said.
He believes he is being “bullied” in this case because, he claimed, he once had a conflict with a high-ranking official at the Justice Ministry, which oversees the DSI.
Deputy DSI chief Korrawat Panprapakorn insisted DSI officials adhered to the law when raiding the showrooms and the department did find irregularities in the car prices.
However, Mr Panusak has the right to file a lawsuit, he said.
The department’s spokesmen yesterday also reacted to Mr Panusak’s claims, saying the DSI is treating the possible tax evasion on luxury cars as a “special case” and is therefore authorised by the 2004 Special Case Investigation Act and the Criminal Code to impound suspected cars. The investigators need the seized cars for use as evidence and will return them to the company or owners once the case comes to an end, he said.
Pol Lt Col Korrawat said the DSI is working with the Customs Department to compare car prices on their invoices with actual prices overseas to claim back unpaid taxes.
He said it was no surprise to see Mr Panusak’s company launch legal counteraction against the DSI.
In high-profile cases, defendants tend to sue the DSI with the Civil Court or Criminal Court as a technique to use court power to scrutinise and even “destroy the credibility and the weight of evidence compiled by DSI investigators”, the spokesmen said.