Thailand, Germany face off over royal aircraft seizure

Thailand, Germany face off over royal aircraft seizure

Crown prince Maha Vajiralongkorn's private jet was confiscated by the authorities in Munich on Tuesday following an order issued by a regional court in Berlin on a petition filed by the insolvency administrator of Walter Bau AG, which claims that the Thai government owes it more than 30 million euros for constructing a highway near Bangkok during the 1990s.

Thailand's foreign minister Kasit Piromya flew into Berlin on Friday evening in an effort to secure the release of the aircraft and held a meeting with deputy foreign minister Cornelia Pieper.

The crown prince was on a visit to Munich when his Boeing 737 aircraft was seized and barred from leaving the airport and since then he and his entourage have been staying in a hotel there waiting for its release.

The Thai government reacted angrily to the plane's confiscation and warned the German government of "serious consequences" for the relations between the two countries if it is not freed immediately.

Pieper told journalists after the meeting that the German government can do very little to resolve the stand-off and it is a matter for the judiciary to decide. Piromya indicated that his government is ready for a compromise. The Thai government never said that it will not pay to the German company, he said in a TV interview.

Before leaving for Berlin, he said the German authorities had made a "big mistake" in confiscating the aircraft. Thailand's foreign minister Kasit Piromya earlier on Friday spoke of the German authorities' action as a "big mistake" and dashed for Berlin to secure the release of the aircraft. He is expected to meet deputy foreign minister Cornelia Pieper and other senior government officials and to seek their intervention to resolve the stand-off, media reports said.

Insolvency administrator Werner Schneider said as part of the insolvency proceedings of Walter Bau AG, he has been asking the Thai government for many years to pay more than 30 million euros it owes to the company.  He approached the court in Berlin to issue a confiscation order for the aircraft because the Thai government has not responded to his numerous requests, he said in a TV interview.

His efforts to involve the German government officials to settle the dispute also have not been successful. He said the insolvent company's demand has been confirmed by an independent commission. If a German court lifts the confiscation order, then a security bail of 40 million euros will be due to pay for the creditors and former workers of the insolvent company.

The Thai government's first attempt to overturn the ruling of the Berlin secure the release of the aircraft failed in a a stay against the court injenction against after the authorities in Munich impounded the private jet of Thai crown prince Maha Vajiralongkorn in connection with a construction company's claim of over 30 million euros from the Thai government.

A regional court in Berlin had earlier this week ordered confiscation of the Boeing 737 aircraft on a petition filed by the insolvency administrator of the bankrupt company Walter Bau AG, which claims that the Thai government owes it over 30 million for constructing a highway in that country in the 1990s. Subsequently, police in Munich confiscated the aircraft on Tuesday and since then Prince Vajiralongkorn and his entourage have been staying in a hotel there unable to leave the country.

The Thai government reacted angrily to the impounding of the aircraft and demanded the German government to release the plane immediately.

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