Fugitive ex-monk Wirapol Sukphol is escorted by the Department of Special Investigation officials to the prosecutor's office in Bangkok after being extradited from the United States, where he fled in 2013. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP

Bangkok - A Thai civil court on Thursday seized a former Thai monk's assets worth a total of 43 million baht (R15 million) for offences including public fraud and money laundering.

Wirapol Sukphol, 38, was extradited from the US and arrived in Thailand late Wednesday after he fled the country in 2013 once he was issued with an arrest warrant for multiple allegations.

Months before Wirapol left Thailand, he made headlines when a video showing him in aviator sunglasses carrying a Louis Vuitton bag on a private jet surfaced on the Internet, leading to an uproar over his unusual wealth and materialistic lifestyle contrary to Buddhist teachings.

Soon after, he was accused by a woman of impregnating her when she was 14 years old. Up to 10 people have filed complaints to the police that they have been tricked by Wirapol on the Internet to donate millions of dollars.

Wirapol's assets seized by the Thai authorities include an 8.3-million-baht Porsche, a property in north-eastern Thailand and money in his bank accounts.

Despite the asset seizure by the civil court, Wirapol has yet to stand trial for criminal offences. Prosecutors on Thursday charged him with public fraud, money laundering and a computer crime, all of which he denied.

Wirapol was initially wanted by the authorities for child abduction and molestation, but the charges have already expired.

Following the many allegations - including alcohol consumption, which violate Buddhist monastic rules - Wirapol was also expelled from the monkhood.


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