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Thailand: Extravagant former Monk bags 114years in prison

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 A former Thai Buddhist monk who provoked outrage with his lavish lifestyle was sentenced on Thursday to 114 years in prison after a court found him guilty of fraud, money laundering and computer crimes.

Wirapol Sukphol, who was seen in a YouTube video in 2013 holding wads of cash on a private jet, returned to Thailand in July 2017 after being extradited from the United States where he had fled.

Wirapol, formerly known by his monastic name Luang Pu Nenkham, was expelled from the monkhood in 2013 after the video surfaced. He was accused of having sexual intercourse – a grave offense for monks – with an underage girl, among other charges.

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He later fled to the United States.

A criminal court in Bangkok sentenced Wirapol to 114 years in prison though he will only serve 20 years because Thai law stipulates that is the maximum for someone found guilty of multiple counts of the same offense.

“He committed fraud by claiming to have special power to lure in people and he also bought many luxury cars which is considered a money-laundering offense,” an official at the Department of Special Litigation told Reuters.

The official declined to be identified because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

“The court found him guilty of multiple offences which resulted in a 114-year jail term when combined, which means he will actually serve 20 years in jail,” he said.

Neither Wirapol nor his lawyer were available for comment.

Wirapol faces separate charges of child molestation and child abduction. A verdict in that case is expected in October.

Wirapol’s high-profile case highlighted a series of sex and money scandals that have rocked Thailand’s Buddhist clergy in recent years, resulting in calls for reforms of religious institutions.

The military government that came to power after a 2014 coup has stepped up efforts to clean up Buddhism by arresting monks involved in corruption scandals and through the introduction of a bill that reduces the influence of Buddhism’s Sangha Supreme Council – the governing body of Buddhist monks.

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Inflation rate falls to 1.7%

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 The office for National statistics says the consumer price index is 1.7%-down from 2.1% – in August

Head of inflation at ONS Mike Hardie said: “The inflation rate has fallen noticeably into August, to its lowest since late 2016. This was mainly driven by a decrease in computer game prices, plus clothing prices rising by less than year after the end of the summer sales.

“Annual growth in house prices slowed to its lowest rate since September 2012, with four of the nine English regions now seeing prices falling over the year”.

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Nigeria Football Federation boss Amaju Pinnick under fresh corruption probe

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Several properties belonging to top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), including its president Amaju Pinnick, have been seized in a fresh corruption probe.

The latest investigation and seizures are being carried out by the country’s Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission’s (ICPC).

The ICPC has published a newspaper advertisement about the properties seized – half of which belong to Pinnick.

According to the statement published in the Nigerian papers one of Pinnick’s properties is in London.

It comes amidst wide-ranging claims over how money meant for football development allegedly disappeared.

“We can’t go into further details beyond the fact that many officials of the NFF are under investigation,” ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa said.

“It’s basically because what they have is in excess of what they have earned.”

The ICPC has also taken control of properties belonging to the NFF second vice-president Shehu Dikko and the general secretary Muhamed Sanusi among others.

Source: BBC

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