Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thai Prince's Plane Impounded in Germany

From The International Herald Tribune:

Thai Prince's Plane Impounded in Germany

A Boeing 737 used by the Thai crown prince has been impounded in Germany as part of a long-running commercial dispute, and the Thai government said Wednesday that it was seeking the jet's release.

Peter Prümm, a spokesman for the Munich Airport, said the German federal authorities had seized the plane Tuesday and that it remains parked at the airport.

Werner Schneider, administrator for Walter Bau, a German construction company that declared bankruptcy in 2005, said by telephone that his office had requested the action in a lengthy contractual dispute over a Bangkok elevated highway project. Walter Bau was part of a consortium to design and build the Don Muang Tollway in the Thai capital.

An international arbitration panel in July 2009 found the Thai government to have been in breach of its obligations to Walter Bau for, among other things, refusing to raise tolls on the road, as had been agreed in the contract. It ordered the Thai government to pay more than €30 million, or $42 million, in damages and legal costs.

"This drastic measure is virtually the last resort," Mr. Schneider said earlier in a news release. "The Thai government always stalled and did not respond to our demands.

Thai officials say the case is under appeal, but Mr. Schneider disputed that, saying the Thai government had made no effort to challenge the arbitrators' ruling.

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