A Buddhist monk charged with fraud and statutory rape was extradited Wednesday from the U.S. to Thailand for prosecution.
Thai authorities suspected the monk, Wirapol Sukphol, of laundering money after discovering Sukphol had 41 bank accounts through which he kept $5.9 million in circulation, according to Religion News Service.
U.S. authorities arrested Sukphol in California in 2016. Sukphol was defrocked before his arrest amid allegations of multiple sexual affairs with women, having sex with a 14-year-old girl, and a Youtube video that showed him boarding a plane sporting his orange robes, a Louis Vatton handbag, and aviator sunglasses.
Sukphol at one point had an estimated $32 million in assets and bought 22 Mercedes cars, according to the Thai Department of Special Investigation.
Sukphol rose to fame in Thailand for alleged supernatural powers, through which he gained rich followers who initially helped him to fund expensive religious projects, like the 59 foot tall statue of Buddha he had built. Sukphol eventually began using his accumulated wealth to fund his jet-setting lifestyle.
The statute of limitations has passed for the charge of statutory rape in the case of Sukphol’s sexual relationship with a 14 year old girl, but Sukphol still faces prosecution for fraud and money laundering, among other things.
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