German court shown evidence on Thai prince's plane ownership

Bangkok (The Nation/ANN) - Thailand has submitted a document to a German court to prove that the impounded Boeing 737 used by the Thai crown prince did not belong to the Thai government, an informed source said.

Other papers submitted included the Standard Certificate of Airworthiness, the aircraft registration and a permit to use private aircraft, all signed by Crown Prince Maha Vajiralong-korn when the Royal Thai Air Force presented the plane to him in 2007 for his personal use, the source said.

Civil Aviation Department director-general Somchai Chanrod said that the documents submitted to the court complied with the Convention on International Civil Aviation, or Chicago Convention. He expressed confidence the court would accept the Thai government's sound evidence that the Boeing did not belong to the government.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry's deputy spokesman Jesda Katavetin said the Thai legal team was allowed to offer useful information and it expected the court would review the additional evidence and rule today.

An investment-conflict lawsuit with German construction firm Walter Bau over the debacle on Bangkok's Don Muang Tollway led to the Boeing being impounded by the Germans. The Thai government will appeal by July 29 on the New York Court's ruling for the government to pay Walter Bau, caretaker Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said.

Abhisit said the Office of the Attorney-General confirmed with him that there were reasonable grounds for appeal and it might also proceed with other legal action against Walter Bau. Officials would give him details when they returned to Thailand.

Walter Bau, which was part of a joint venture to construct the Don Muang Tollway, has accused the Thai government of breaches of contract. After years of discussion, an international tribunal in Geneva awarded the firm about 1.26 billion baht (US$42.1 million) in compensation, a ruling the Thai government rejected.

The firm sued the Thai government in a New York court for compensation, and a German civil court had the Boeing 737 aircraft impounded at Munich Airport last week.

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