Thailand court seizes assets from ousted prime minister

[JURIST] The Constitutional Court of Thailand [official website, in Thai] ruled Friday to seize 46.4 billion baht (USD $1.4 billion) in assets from ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] for abuses of power while in office. The court found [Bangkok Post report] that Thaksin crafted government telecommunications policy to benefit his family by providing them with shares in Shin Corporation [corporate website]. The shares were then sold just three days after the the government raised the maximum foreign ownership of telecommunication companies from 20 percent to 49 percent. The Thai attorney general sought to have all family assets seized, but the Court found [Bloomberg report] that 30.2 billion baht belonged to Thaksin’s family and could not be confiscated. Thaksin maintains [statement] that his wealth was honestly earned and taken for political reasons.

In November, Cambodia refused [JURIST report] a request by the current Thai administration to extradite Thaksin, heightening tensions among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) [official website]. In October 2008, a Thai court found Thaksin guilty [JURIST report] in absentia on corruption charges and sentenced him to two years in prison. In August 2008, Thai prosecutors asked the Supreme Court to seize over $2 billion [JURIST report] from Thaksin's frozen accounts and holdings in relation to the charges. In July 2008, the Thai Attorney General's Office filed corruption charges [JURIST report] against Thaksin for his role in a 2003 resolution reducing fees paid by mobile phone companies to state telecommunications agencies. Later that month, Thaksin's wife, as well as her step brother and secretary, were convicted of tax evasion [JURIST report] as a result of her transferring $16.3 million worth of stock to the two.

 

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