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Luang Pu Nenkham, the controversial ex-monk who rose to prominence for his extravagant jet setting lifestyle, claims he has received official refugee status in the United States.
Today, various Thai news site are reporting that Luang Pu, real name Wirapol Sukphol, has been granted permission to remain in the United States and that he also plans to launch his own religion from his new home in California.
Sanook News reports how the monk has recently took part in an interview with the Thai news YouTube channel, Jom Voice.
In the 9 minute clip, presenter Jom claims Luang Pu didn’t want to appear on camera, although footage is shown of him taking part in a merit making ceremony.
The antics of Luang Pu Nenkham made national news in 2013 when video footage emerged of him travelling around in a private jet, with a Louis Vuitton hand bag and wearing designer sunglasses.
It then came to light that Luang Pu had amassed a quite staggering amount of financial wealth and other assets, which allegedly included him owning scores of luxury cars, properties and land plots throughout Thailand.
The monk’s high profile lifestyle didn’t go unnoticed by the authorities in Thailand, with the Department of Special Investigations charging him in relation to committing fraud and money laundering. He also faced charges of rape and having sex with a minor.
Authorities then seized more than 300 million Baht from 41 bank accounts allegedly belonging to Luang Pu.
However, if the latest claims are to believed, it would appear that Luang Pu will not be returning to Thailand anytime soon.