Thaksin and Pojaman end their marriage
Thaksin has flown to Dubai after divorcing his wife in Hong Kong. He chose Dubai because the UAE has no extradition treaty with Thailand.
By all means, it is a tactical divorce for several reasons
What prompted the Shinawatras to split?
Convicted ex-PM Thakin Shinawatra and his wife; Khunying Pojaman appeared at the Thai Consul General’s Office in Hong Kong on Friday amidst reports they had divorced.
A close aide to Thaksin was quoted online as saying that the couple had decided to divorce as Pojaman opposed her husband’s decision to continue his fight and had been under political pressure for a long time.
Is it a real or tactical divorce?
By all means, it is a tactical divorce for several reasons.
1. The divorce is designed to protect the Shinawatras’ wealth. Most of the Shinawatras’ wealth is held by Pojaman. Thaksin declared his assets of around Bt500 million after leaving office, compared to Bt8 billion for Pojaman. The two might not want to get into further legal complications over their assets.
2. The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division of the Political Office Holders is scheduled to hold a hearing into charges that Thaksin is unsually rich next month. The public prosecutors are charging that Thaksin engaged in a series of policy corruption between 2001 and 2006 to enrich Shin Corp.
3. If Thaksin were to be found guilty, the Supreme Court might rule to forfeit part or all of the Bt76 billion of his family’s money now being frozen in the local banks. This Bt76 billion is being held under the names of Panthongtae Shinawatra, Pinthongta Shinawatra, Banaphot Damapong, Yingluck Shinawatra.
4. Thaksin declared that he and his wife had transferred all of their stocks in Shin Corp to their children before entering politics in 2000. The prosecutors would have to prove that all those years between 2000 and 2006, Thaksin and Pojaman were still beneficial owners of Shin Corp stocks as Panthongtae, Pinthongta, Banaphot and Yingluck were acting as their nominees.
5. Both Thaksin and Pojaman have been denied re-entry visa into the United Kingdom. All of their three children are now living in the UK. A divorce might help Pojaman to secure the visa to the UK to look after the children.
6. Pojaman has been ruled innocent in the Rachadapisek land case, while Thaksin has been sentenced to two years in prison for conflict of interest in helping his wife to secure the bid for the public property. Pojaman is free to return to Thailand or go elsewhere.
7. Pojaman can apply for visa anywhere in the world without having to face legal complications from Thaksin.
8. But Pojaman has been sentenced to three years in prison for tax evasion in a stock deal dated back to the 1997 period. The lower court issued the ruling. She is now appealing the case, which would certainly go to the Supreme Court. This might take years.
9. There have been reports that Pojaman is not happy with Thaksin’s determination to win back his political power. A divorce would make it more convenient for both to concentrate on their lives — Pojaman’s looking after the kids; Thaksin’s fighting his political enemies in Thailand.
10. Thaksin would fight to dead to get his Bt76 billion back. He is willing to pay tax on this amount, a proceed from the sale of Shin Corp to Temasek Holdings of Singapore.
11. The couple might have faced a hard time together and got into some quarrels but the original tie-up is too tight for a divorce.
These are possibilities that we can think of. After all, no one knows the answers to their irreconcilable differences.
Thanong Khanthong / Nov15, 2008
Critics suspicious of ex-couple’s motives
Critics of ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra expressed suspicion yesterday about the real motives behind his divorce from Khunying Pojaman.
Sak Kosaengruang, a member of the now-defunct, junta-appointed Assets Examination Committee, said he thought it might have something to do with Pojaman wanting to return to Britain to conduct business.
“I think she will benefit from the possibility of being able to return to England. She can now claim that she is no longer related to Thaksin,” Sak said.
He added that the couple’s Bt76 billion in assets frozen in connection with a corruption case would not be affected, as the alleged wrongdoing was committed when the two were married.
Sak, who is a legal expert, admitted however that future financial scrutiny of the two would become even more complicated from now on.
Komsan Phokong, lecturer in law at Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University and former junta-appointed member of the Constitution Drafting Committee, said it was difficult to say for sure what was behind the surprise divorce.
He did not think it was because of Pojaman’s supposed displeasure at Thaksin’s continued political role, because Pojaman herself has been involved in politics.
“It may be about assets, because Thaksin likes to hide his assets in various places without letting Pojaman know and she could be upset about this. The divorce may be good for Pojaman’s future income, as it would not be confiscated along with that of Thaksin [in pending legal cases],” said the lecturer.
Nation / Nov16, 2008
National Anti-Corruption Commission member Vicha Mahakun said he would not comment on Thaksin’s personal matters. However, if the couple splits, their assets would have to follow the laws; but so far they have not asked the court for an assets separation.
Former Assets Examination Committee member Sak Korsaengruang said the divorce would not have any effect on the cases currently in process. Their marriage was a factor in only the Ratchadaphisek land case, and the Bt76-billion asset seizure due to abuse of power or corruption.
Others were criminal proceedings in which only the individual wrongdoer would receive a penalty.
The court has sentenced Thaksin to a two-year jail term for the Ratchadaphisek land case while the asset seizure was a civil case.
Experts said the divorce would make the couple more independent in their legal activities as they would not need spousal permission.
Democrat law expert Thavorn Senneam said the divorce was more likely to be a personal matter, not political. The divorce would not make the frozen Bt76 billion the possession of only one partner. Both would have to prove to the court that they earned it honestly. (more from Thavorn)
One of the leaders of the anti-government People’s Alliance for Democracy, Pibhop Dhongchai, said the reasons behind the divorce were complicated. With Pojaman using her maiden name, she could more easily get a visa to the UK and come back to defend herself in the tax-evasion case.
Democrat Nakhon Si Thammarat MP Thepthai Senpong said with the divorce,Thaksin might have signalled that he would fight to the ultimate to protect his family
Source The Nation / Nov 17, 2008
Divorce will not affect assets seizure case: prosecutor
A public prosecutor said the divorce between former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife would have no effect on the assets seizure case against Thaksin.
Nanthasak Poolsook, director of Department of Supreme Court Cases for Region 8, said the case was filed against Thaksin for having allegedly unlawful obtained his wealth.
He said the assets were seized on ground that Thaksin had abused his authority to amass the Bt76 billion.
The Nation, Nov 17, 2008
People’s Alliance Denies Making Comment on Thaksin’s Divorce
The People’s Alliance for Democracy refuses to comment on the divorce of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, saying his decision is a personal matter and will not have an impact on the charges he’s facing.
Core leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, or PAD, Pipob Thongchai said his group will not comment on the decision of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to divorce his wife Pojaman, as it is a personal matter.
Pipob stated, however, that the PAD will wait and see Thaksin’s statement and his actions after the divorce, adding that his group is not worried about the matter as it shouldn’t have an impact on the lawsuits facing the ousted Prime Minister.
As for the government’s decision to assign the Internal Security Operations Command to deal with the PAD rally, the group’s other core leader, Major General Chamlong Srimuang, said the attempt is useless as the real cause of current problems comes from the government itself.
He also declined to comment on the move to convince some military officers who have close ties with the PAD to take sides with the government, saying his group’s stance remains unchanged.
This morning, three PAD key leaders, including Major General Chamlong Srimuang, Pipob Thongchai, and Somkiet Pongpaiboon, presided over the opening ceremony of Angkhana-Methee bamboo bridge connecting the group’s rally site with a street beside Phra Nakorn Commercial School. The street will be set up as the PAD Market, under the concept of new life and new society
TOC, Nov 17, 2008
Bangkok Posts– “We divorced in order to make everybody feel comfortable,” a PPP MP who was at the dinner, quoted Thaksin as saying
A political observer said the divorce could be legally motivated to protect the couple’s assets, which are mostly held in the name of Khunying Potjaman.
A PPP source said the former prime minister chose Dubai because the UAE has no extradition treaty with Thailand.
guardian.co.uk– Fugitive Thaksin heads for Dubai after divorce from ‘very close’ wife
Bangkok Posts–Thaksin divorce ‘just a business deal’ By Nattaya Chetchotiros and King-oua Laohong
Nation– Fugitive ex-PM Thaksin ends their marriage in Hong Kong. Ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra has divorced from his wife Pojaman in a move described as a strategy aimed at attaining their separate goals
Asia News Network–Thaksin, Pojaman file for divorce. But many still doubt the real reason behind the divorce
Straits Times– Ex-Thai premier ends 32-year marriage; some believe it’s a move to protect assets
VOA News– Thai media say Thaksin and Pojaman may have divorced for legal reasons relating to corruption cases against them. They have been living in exile since August to avoid jail sentences in their homeland
Herald Tribune– Ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin divorces. Thaksin and his wife, Pojaman, who married in 1976, divorced at the Thai consul general’s office in Hong Kong on Friday, spokesman Pongthep Thepkanjana said in Bangkok.
Thaindiean News– Former premier Thaksin Shinawatra has divorced his wife of 32 years, sealing the separation at the Thai consulate in Hong Kong.
China Dialy– Thailand’s former PM Thaksin divorces. The stories could not be independently verified with the consulate, which is closed through the weekend, and repeated phone calls to Thaksin confidants were not answered
Nation– Thaksin and Pojaman end thier marriage : Pongthep “I have had it confirmed by a close aide of Thaksin that Thaksin and Pojaman have divorced. But I have no details,” Phongthep said