Thailand's supreme court rules to confiscate 1.4 bln USD of Thaksin's frozen assets

11:23, February 27, 2010      

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A Thaksin Shinawatra supporter cries as she learn of a court ruling against the former Thai prime minister, Friday, Feb. 26, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Thailand's Supreme court Friday night handed down a verdict ruling that 1.4 billion U.S. dollars of all the 76-billion-baht (2.3 billion U.S. dollars) of Thai ex- premier Thaksin Shinawatra's frozen assets will be confiscated.

The verdict said the 46.37 billion baht worth of assets (1.4 billion U.S. dollars) are confiscated because they were gained through malpractice during Thaksin's premiership and the remaining 30.25 billion baht will be returned to the Thaksin family.

The verdict reading started at about 1:40 p.m. local time and it took more than 7 hours before the nine judges from the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Political Office Holders gave the final ruling at 9:00 p.m.

Responding to this outcome via a video link, Thaksin living in exile said he will accept the verdict but claimed the court ruling is "unjust".

In his address, Thaksin apologized to his three children for all the difficulties they had to go through. The Thai political conflicts now is very intense, he said, "Please let me be the last person" who suffered the injustice.

Neither the self-exiled former prime minister nor his family members attended the verdict session. In his website www. thaksinlive.com early Friday, Thaksin claimed that all of his money and assets came from years of hard working instead of corruption as alleged.

Some red-clad Thaksin's supporters, who were tracking the court process at the party headquarters, cried after learning the verdict. Both the pro-Thaksin opposition Pheu Thai Party and anti- government group, the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), said they will hold a press conference Saturday morning to respond to the court ruling.

Outside the Supreme Court, the situation has been stable as the anti-government movement red-shirts made clear earlier that they will not hold rally on the verdict day, though they do plan to mobilize as many as one million red-clad supporters of Thaksin to protest in Bangkok on March 14, calling for parliament dissolution.

However, Red Siam, a splinter group of the red-shirts, has been rallying at the Sanam Luang square near the court since 1 p.m to show their support to Thaksin. According to their plan, they would hold peaceful rallies there from 1 p.m. to midnight, everyday from Thursday to Saturday.

According to The Nation online, about three companies of policemen were deployed to guard the Supreme Court compound and surrounding areas Friday. Acting government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said earlier the authorities would closely monitor the situation for four to five hours after the ruling, as that phase of time is considered most sensitive.

Tight security measures will remain in Bangkok for several days after the ruling, Deputy Prime Minister for Security Affairs Suthep Thaugsuban said Friday.

The Thai people with different attitudes on the country's politics should keep the national interest in mind, said Suthep.

He did not think a special law is needed so far and pledged the government will do its best to control the situation.

The Deputy Prime Minister also assured there will not be any coup.

The frozen assets case has been under the spotlight for long since Thaksin remains one of the keywords of Thailand's political conflicts even after he was ousted in 2006 by a military coup.

After the coup, the military-regime-appointed Assets Examination Committee ordered a freeze on the domestic bank accounts held by Thaksin and his wife Pojaman, claiming Thaksin had become unusually wealthy while in office.

The court in 2008 sentenced him in absentia to two-year imprisonment under the charge of conflict of interests.

The two civilian governments after the coup were brought down by the anti-Thaksin People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), or yellow-shirts, who claimed the then-Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej and Somchai Wongsawat were "the proxies of Thaksin".

After the Democrat-led coalition government assumed office in late 2008, Thaksin's supporters, the so-called red-shirts, have never stopped their efforts to topple the administration led by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. At their rallies, they called on the amnesty of Thaksin, dissolution of the parliament and a new election.

Source: Xinhua
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