Thai prince plane affair in hands of German justice: Berlin
Thailand's foreign minister is flying to Berlin for talks on the impounding of an aircraft owned by the Thai crown, but the matter rests with judicial authorities, the German government said Friday.
Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya will meet Friday evening with German foreign undersecretary Cornelia Pieper to discuss the matter, foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer told a regular news conference.
But he warned that the German government could offer no comment on the affair "because we respect the independence of the judicial authorities" who are now responsible for the case.
Kasit will meet Pieper as his German counterpart, Guido Westerwelle, is currently visiting Mexico, the spokesman added.
A Boeing 737 often flown by Maha Vajiralongkorn himself, the heir to the Thai throne, was sealed and banned from taking off on Tuesday, Munich airport said, because of a long-running business dispute.
Werner Schneider, insolvency administrator for the Walter Bau firm, said the seizure followed repeated refusals by the Thai government to pay money it says it is owed.
"We have been trying for years ... to have our justified demands for more than 30 million euros ($42 million) met, and this drastic measure is basically the last resort," Schneider's firm said in a statement.
"The Thai government keeps playing for time and has not reacted to Schneider's demands. Even the involvement of the relevant departments of the German government proved fruitless."
The dispute goes back more than 20 years to the involvement of DYWIDAG, which merged with Walter Bau in 2001, in building a motorway link between Bangkok and Don Muang airport.
After "numerous breaches of contract by the Thai government", Walter Bau, by then insolvent, in 2007 claimed for damages, the legality of which were confirmed by a court in 2009, Schneider said.
Kasit has accused German authorities of making a "huge mistake" in impounding an aircraft owned by the Thai crown prince.
"Legally, this is a huge mistake," he told reporters in Bangkok, before departing for Europe.
"The thing that we want urgently is for the German court to act on our request revoke the seizure immediately."
Kasit said the plane belonged to the crown prince, not the government, and that the issue had "nothing to do" with the royal.
"If this takes too long it might affect the feelings of Thai people towards German people and the country because this is related to the monarchy," he warned.
© 2011 AFP