Thai crown prince's plane impounded in Germany

09:51, July 14, 2011      

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Thai crown prince's Boeing 737 plane was impounded in Munich airport for a long-term unsolved business dispute, said authority on Wednesday.

The plane "Royal Flight" was seized on Tuesday according to a court order, and is now parked in a maintenance area of the airport, said Robert Wilhelm, a spokesman of Munich airport.

Werner Schneider, administrator of a German construction firm Walter Bau AG that went bankruptcy in 2005, said the plane was detained because Thai government refused to pay more than 30 million euros (42.9 million U.S. dollars) it owed to the company.

"This dramatic measure is virtually the last resort," Schneider said.

The debt dated back to more than 20 years ago when German firm Dywidag took part in building a 26-kilometer toll road between Bangkok and Don Muang airport. Dywidag merged in 2001 with Walter Bau AG, which later declared bankrupt.

In 2009, an international arbitration panel in Geneva ruled that Thai government broke the contract and must pay more than 30 billion euros for damages and legal costs.

Thai government has acknowledged the incident on Wednesday and asked German government to correct the "highly inappropriate action" as this plane is an asset of the royal family and the legal proceedings between Thai government and Walter Bauwas were still not over.

In October 2005, Schneider used the same tactic in Istanbul to impound an Airbus jet owned by Middle East Airlines, in a dispute with the Lebanese government over debts owed to Walter Bau.

Source: Xinhua
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