Thai crown prince offers to settle plane dispute

German authorities seized the Boeing 737 used by Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn this month.

Bangkok: Thailand`s crown prince has pledged EUR 20 million (USD 28.4 million) to secure the release of a plane that has been caught up in a long-running commercial dispute and impounded in Germany.

Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn would offer the bond from his personal funds to a court in Bavaria to maintain the good diplomatic relationship between Thailand and Germany, the office of the prince`s secretary said in a statement released late Sunday.

The Boeing 737 was seized last month in Munich by insolvency officials pursuing what they said was debt owed by the Thai government to a defunct German construction firm, Walter Bau AG, dating back two decades.

The court said on July 14 the plane could be released on receipt of a bond, based on the estimated value of the plane, adding this was required as it had not yet reached a decision on the ownership of the plane.

"His Royal Highness respects the court`s ruling and has confidence in the German judicial process," the statement said.

The impounding of the plane angered Thailand`s Foreign Ministry, which has sought its release without payment, arguing it was the personal property of Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn and not owned by any government entity.

The dispute goes back more than 20 years to when German company Dywidag helped build a 26 km (15 mile) toll road to Don Muang airport, formerly Bangkok`s main international airport and now the capital`s domestic terminal.

Dywidag merged in 2001 with Walter Bau, which later became insolvent.

Bureau Report

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