Thailand Seeks to Retrieve Crown Prince's Plane
...After it was confiscated by the German government for unpaid debts
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 15, 2011 10:57 AM CDT
A 737 of Royal Thai Air Force stands on the tarmac at Munich's airport Wednesday July 13, 2011.   (Sebastian Widmann)
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(Newser) – Weird one: Thailand's foreign minister was visiting Germany today in a bid to retrieve a plane used by the Crown Prince that was impounded earlier this week in a long-running commercial dispute. The Boeing 737 "Royal Flight" was seized in Germany on Tuesday as part of a long-running court battle over payments between a German construction company and the Thai government. The bankruptcy administrator of German construction firm Walter Bau AG said this week the plane was seized at Munich airport on court order because of the Thai government's refusal to pay $42 million it owes the company under a contract agreed to more than 20 years ago to build and operate a toll highway in Thailand.

The company maintains the plane belongs to the government. Thailand, however, says it is the property of Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, and therefore can not be impounded in the commercial dispute. A spokesman for the German firm maintained today that the plane was a legitimate target because aviation registries showed it as the property of the Thai government.