Thailand’s Khantitham Forest Monastery is facing tough times. It’s abbot, Luang Pu Nenkham Chattigo, has been barred from transferring money out his bank accounts by Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO).
The 34-year-old monk has been attracting attention ever since a video of him flying a private jet while wearing aviator sunglasses, carrying a Louis Vuitton bag went viral last month. A widely-circulated photograph of him lying next to an apparently naked woman caused further outrage in Thailand, which has the world’s largest Buddhist population, and where monks are supposed to be celibate.
The abbot has since been accused of fathering two children and having sexual relationships with at least eight women.
AMLO ordered that 16 bank accounts held by the monk, in which 10 are under his name, and his associates be frozen after discovering that typical daily transactions involved around 200 million Baht (£4 million). But according to The Telegraph, the monk has abbot and his associates had 41 bank accounts, mostly in his name, and that he is believed to own two houses and 13 cars and motorbikes. Much of the cash in the accounts is believed to have come from public donations to his monastery in the northeastern province of Si Saket.
“I want to warn the Luang Pu Nenkham network and Luang Pu himself that they can’t move assets in the bank accounts because doing so will immediately fall into the category of money-laundering,” said Police Captain Suwanee Sawaengphol, the Deputy Secretary-General of AMLO.