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Thai court takes up case against owner of Leicester City

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Thai court takes up case against owner of Leicester City

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By Chayut Setboonsarng BANGKOK (Reuters) – A Thai criminal court on Monday accepted a 14 billion baht (322.38 million pounds) lawsuit brought against Thai duty-free giant King Power International, the company that owns English Premier League football club Leicester City. The Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases in Bangkok said it had accepted the case, and would hear witnesses on Feb. 12 next year. Anti-graft official Charnchai Issarasenanark filed the suit in July against the duty-free retailer, which is owned by billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and his family. It accuses King Power of criminally failing to pay the Thai government 14 billion baht from the operation of the airport franchise it was granted in 2006. The suit was also brought against executives from the state-owned airport operator, Airports of Thailand (AOT). King Power and AOT were not immediately available for comment. Self-made businessman Vichai founded King Power in 1989. The duty-free business took off in 2006 when it was granted an airport monopoly under the government of then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, but it continued to prosper even after Thaksin’s ouster in a coup that year. Vichai bought Leicester City in August 2010. The family’s empire also includes Belgian football club, Oud-Heverlee Leuven, Accor’s Pullman hotels in Thailand and a controlling stake in Asia Aviation Pcl, operator of low-cost carrier Thai AirAsia.

(Reporting by Aukkarapon Niyomyat and Chayut Setboonsarng; Additional reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Stephen Coates)
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