Thaksin's assets not frozen: Thai central bank governor

Bank of Thailand Governor MR Pridiyathorn Devakula Wednesday played down the speculation that the authorities had seized the assets of the cabinet's members of the ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra by freezing the international fund transfer.

"If the sum is less than 10 million U.S. dollars in a year, the transaction can be done without the central bank's approval," he was quoted by Bangkok-based The Nation news website.

Asked if the authorities freezes the sum worth 73 billion baht (1.97 billion U.S. dollars) that Thaksin and his family earned from selling Shin Corp empire to Temasek Holdings of Singapore, Pridiyathorn said it was not true. He said, "There have not been any freeze of assets because they have not [yet] been deemed criminals."

The BOT chief, returning to Bangkok Wednesday from attending the annual meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Singapore, has denied a romor that he was approached to be the interim prime minister by the Administrative Reform Council, a group of top military brass who staged a bloodless coup d'etat against the Thaksin government Tuesday night.

"I didn't know that I was nominated as a candidate," Pridiyathorn said. "No one has telephoned me to discuss the matter. Only my wife called to tell me what had happened here (in Bangkok), " the Thai News Agency quoted him as saying earlier the day.

The BOT chief said he followed news on the coup via CNN news network and felt good to see it was staged without violence and bloodshed.

It seemed to be a political change that the people have accepted, he said, since he saw people taking photos of soldiers in different spots. He believed the incident would not have negative impact on investment because foreign investors did not witness any violence.

Thai currency baht plunged to 37.90 from 37.20 to the U.S. dollar in morning trade. Pridiyathorn explained that the currency had weakened in the short run in the New York trade.

Once the Asian market began trading, exporters sold out the dollar, making the baht appreciate to 37.68 to the dollar in the afternoon. He insisted the central bank had not intervened in influencing the baht value.

Source: Xinhua



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