Ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s corruption case, which could lead to the seizure of Bt76 billion of his assets, will not be affected by his recent divorce, according to a senior public prosecutor and a member of the anti-graft committee that filed the case in court.
Nanthasak Poonsuk, a senior public prosecutor dealing with cases in the top court, said both Thaksin and his former wife Pojaman had not claimed exclusive rights over the currently frozen assets.
Also, the case is against Thaksin alone and does not include Pojaman as a co-defendant, he said.
Both had testified in court that the assets, mostly in the form of bank deposits, belonged to their children, relatives and other people to whom Thaksin and Pojaman had transferred the money before Thaksin entered politics, the prosecutor added.
The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders is set to begin its trial next month on the case, in which Thaksin is accused of being unusually wealthy – a euphemism for corruption. The case stemmed from the sale of Shin Corp shares by members of the Shinawatra family to Singapore’s state-owned Temasek Holdings.
Shin Corp, which was owned by Thaksin’s family, allegedly made substantial gains in stock value during his tenure as prime minister.
Through advertisements in the print media, the court has urged individuals, businesses and legal entities involved to protest against a request by public prosecutors for the court to order the seizure of the assets, according to Nanthasak.
Meanwhile, Amnuay Thantara, a member of the now-defunct Assets Examination Committee (AEC), which ordered the freeze on Thaksin’s assets, agreed yesterday that the divorce would not affect the corruption case.
He said that with the AEC freeze order, neither Thaksin nor Pojaman would request a division of the seized assets under their names.
“Of the frozen assets, there are bank accounts of other people, in addition to those of Thaksin and Pojaman,” he said.
Parinya Thewanarumit, vice rector of Thammasat University, said it was likely that the couple’s divorce had something to do with the asset-seizure case.
He said that for Thaksin, legal trouble could be a motive for him to separate from his wife. He added that this was a common practice among heavily indebted business people.
In a related development, Jatuporn Phromphan, an MP from the ruling People Power Party, said that at the December 10 gathering of Thaksin’s supporters – possibly at the Supachalasai Stadium – the ex-premier would be allowed “unlimited time” to make his phone-in address.
The gathering, expected to be the fourth held by Thaksin supporters, will be organised by the hosts of the “Truth Today” political talk show on the state-run NBT channel.
Thaksin is expected to announce his stance and future moves in his political battle, according to Jatuporn, who was among the politicians who met the ex-PM in Hong Kong recently.
By Kesinee Taengkhieo,
Published on November 18, 2008