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Old 22-02-2012, 12:47 AM   #72 (permalink)
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Pracha 'proves' PM-Srettha meeting was above board - The Nation

Pracha 'proves' PM-Srettha meeting was above board

THE NATION February 22, 2012 1:00 am

If Pheu Thai MP Pracha Prasobdee thought that by inviting the press to the 7th floor of the Four Seasons Hotel he would clear up questions about Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's "secret" meeting with Srettha Thavisin, an executive of property development firm Sansiri, then he was sadly mistaken.

Two hours after meeting Pracha at 10am yesterday, members of the press left the hotel with more questions than answers.

Pracha started the press conference by saying that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the controversial meeting and insisted that it had taken place at the hotel's "business centre".

"The Democrat Party should be using its time looking at people's plight instead of wasting it on this," Pracha told the 40 or so members of the press assembled outside the five-star hotel.

"The prime minister can meet anybody as long as it does not threaten national security," the MP said.

The media and opposition have been wondering if the two-hour-long meeting on February 8 was just a get-together among old acquaintances, a tryst or if perhaps Yingluck and Srettha had met to exchange some inside information about real estate. And why did the security detail issue a secret code during the meeting?

"I don't know. You must ask [the prime minister]," Pracha responded.

When asked why the authorities did not just provide security camera footage to clear the air about the nature of the meeting and the identities of the people she had met, Pracha said: "It's not my duty to provide that proof."

However, he offered to take reporters to the so-called business centre on the 7th floor, but the management would only allow one representative to enter the premises because they feared the presence of the media might frighten the hotel's well-heeled guests. After a lengthy negotiation with the manager - who is a foreigner, and this writer had to step in to translate for Pracha - the MP ended up entering the premises with one reporter only to be told that the 7th floor was occupied and could not be opened to outsiders.

An hour later, Pracha came down declaring that he had proved that there was indeed an "Executive Club" on the 7th floor, but when asked if the controversial meeting had taken place there or in a private room as alleged by the Democrats, the MP said he could not confirm the location.

Shortly before noon, Pracha - insisting that he had not been dispatched to clarify things - declared that he had completed his mission of proving that a business centre did exist on the 7th floor of the hotel.

Yet, the press left the premises wondering what exactly had been proven.

On the Four Seasons' website, the tagline for its 7th-floor Executive Club reads: "Stressful? No. Productive? Yes."

However, it looks like Yingluck might find it stressful because the Parliament's ombudsman has just decided to investigate the "secret meeting".
"Slavery is the daughter of darkness; an ignorant people is the blind instrument of its own destruction; ambition and intrigue take advantage of the credulity and inexperience of men who have no political, economic or civil knowledge. They mistake pure illusion for reality, license for freedom, treason for patriotism, vengeance for justice."-Simón Bolívar
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