New Thai king gets greater control over vast royal fortune

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's new king, who succeeded his late father last year, has tightened control over what is reputed to be the world's richest royal fortune, estimated to be worth more than $30 billion.

A law that became effective Monday places the Crown Property Bureau, essentially a holding company for the royal palace's assets, under King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun's direct control.

The bureau's assets represent the lion's share of the royal family's wealth, which Forbes magazine in 2011 estimated at more than $30 billion, much of it in real estate.

Previously the bureau was technically under the government's control, with the finance minister in the position of board chairman.

Previous shake-ups under the new king gave him control of palace agencies previously under government, military and police authority.