Where is Thaksin Shinawatra now? Somebody said Thaksin is staying in Panama. Yes, it is better known as the Republic of Panama, the southern most country of Central America.
Fewer and fewer countries are willing to welcome the ex-prime minister, with the political headwind, the criminal sentence he carries around with him and his dubious financial transactions.
Thaksin would like to create an impression that he is still staying in Dubai. But Dubai might not want to welcome him any more. China and Hong Kong do not want to court trouble either by allowing him to enter their territories. Most other countries, which have maintained relations with Thailand, are reluctant to play host to his stay because of Thaksin’s political activity.
I miss you all, but I am not sure how I can come back home.
Thaksin would like to return home as a hero and a victor, but that prospect is now falling to almost zero per cent chance now. He cannot turn Thailand’s upside down. He has money, much, much less money than before. But money cannot buy everything. His friends and supporters are deserting him.
Thaksin now has to plan his movements carefully because he would not want to stay in a country that maintains extradition treaty with Thailand. So he will be hopping around countries with unfamiliar names such as Panama or Papua New Guinea.
With the UK government’s banning of his visa, Thaksin can no longer enter any Common Wealth countries. Singapore is caught in the same dilemma of not wanting to welcome Thaksin again. What would be the US response if Thaksin were to apply for a visa to enter the US?
Thaksin’s red-cover diplomatic passport has also been revoked. The red-cover diplomatic passport, given out only to Thai present and past prime ministers and foreign ministers for life, allows Thaksin to travel to any country without visa. But that privilege has now been denied. The UK government has also dealt a blow to Thaksin’s predicament by revoking his visa.
The Thai Foreign Ministry was quick to act earlier this week when it was clear that the Democrats were settling into power. Thaksin’s suport base in the bureaucracy, police and Parliament is crumbling fast. The Thai authorities are now determining whether they would revoke his normal passport altogether.
Asked about the revocation of his father’s red passport, Panthongthae Shinawatra, said earlier this week that his father was carrying several passports with him and that he was not sure what country Thaksin was staying now because he had no plan to visit him yet.
Much less money and much poorer
Thaksin has lost money badly in the global financial meltdown. Rumours in the financial markets have been swirling around for quite some time that he has lost money badly in the oil futures trading. Oil futures rose from US$80, US$90 before hitting US$160 per barrel. Now the future contracts are trading at US$45 a barrel. That could have easily wiped out more than half of his assets.
All investors in the capital and financial markets have seen their finguers burnt badly or gone bankrupt in this terribly adverse market conditions. Thaksin is probably no exception. He thought that his investment would be safe with the diversifications. But Long-Term Capital Management, the hedge fund supremo, also went bankrupt in 1998 in adverse market conditions even though it thought it had balanced all of its positions.
Thaksin has been known to be a big gambler. He does not know how to lose or how to concede. He maintains a winner-take-all attitude, which he has brought with him into the business world and politics. He is now suffering from the boomerang effect. He had thought that his wealth and his political fortune would rise forever. Now the financial markets and the politics have gone against him badly.
He might also have run into trouble with the UK authorities with his dubious financial transactions, probably one of the reasons that his visa has been denied. Thaksin bought Manchester City Football Club for more than 80 million pounds and sold the club to Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi for 210 million pounds.
That deal raised the eye-brows of the British authorities. What was Sinatra trying to do? That prompted them to take a careful look at Thaksin’s dubious financial transactions. The transactions were unusually large.
The link below provides a full interview of Thaksin with Arabianbusiness.com.
It reveals that the UK has frozen Thaksin’s assets of US$4 billion. “The UK froze his reputed $4bn of assets, forcing him to sell Manchester City to Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour. To add to his troubles, his UK visa was revoked – oh, and his wife divorced him last week,” the Arabianbusiness report said.
Strangely enough, nobody followed up on this story to either confirm to deny whether Thaksin’s assets of US$4 billion have been frozen by the British authorities. That is no small amount of money. It amounts to almost Bt150 billion, more than the stimulus package that the Abhisit Vejjajiva, the new prime minister, plans to dish into the rural areas during this time of economic hardship.
Writing his opinion piece, “Bhumibol, Thailand’s remarkable king”, in the Los Angeles Times’s December 11, 2008 edition, W. Scott Thompson also confirmed that Thaksin’s assets have been frozen by the UK authorities. He wrote: “Meantime, the British have frozen Thaksin’s assets in Britain and revoked his visa. So Thaksin’s other asset — his rural popularity — can only decline…”
Thaksin’s dubious financial transactions and his facing the two-year jail sentence in Thailand were the two main reasons, in that order, that led to the UK authorities to revoke his visa.
With his dwindling assets in the overseas, Thaksin’s wealth is now largely lying in Thailand. But his Bt76 billion, about US$2 billion, is being frozen by the Thai authorities pending corruption charges against him. Thaksin is fighting back fiercely to get this money back, which is earned from the sale of Shin Corp to Temasek Holdings of Singapore. But again the prospect of getting his Shin Corp money back is slim as the case of allegations that he was unusually rich is going to court.
His wife, Khunying Pojaman, has divorced him. She knows all the financial situation. They have agreed to divorce, at least tactically so that she can keep portion of the wealth for herself and the children. Thaksin can do everything with the rest of the money, which will be used mainly to finance his political comeback.
Without any family’s obligations, Thaksin now has nothing to worry about. He can do things his own way because he is not afraid to die.
He has repeatedly sent out his signal, “Don’t push me to the corner.”
Returning home with Santa Claus?
Thaksin must be weighing the prospect of returning home all the time. Before he thought that he could return home with a revolutionary support of his people so that the Supreme Court’s verdict could be overturned. If not, he would have to go straight to jail if he sets foot in Thailand.
Before his phone-in message was arrogant. He told his Red Shirt supporters at the Rajamangkala Stadium in Hua Mak on November 1, 2008 that he would return home if His Majesty the King pardonned him or if his people supported him. He thought that the final battle was approaching with the decisive outcome and his returning home to savour the victory.
But nothing came to pass. The Somchai government was struggling to stand on its own feet. Within a month, it would be booted out by the Constitution Court.
The two latest phone-in events for his Red Shirt supporters at the National Stadium on November 30, 2008 turned out to be an anti-climax. He had threatened a tell it all, naming his arch political enemies. There was nothing in the card. It was like a wind blowing pass a tree. Nothing happened. He was tamed.
On Decedmber 17, 2008, Thaksin again phoned into a fund-raising party of his Red Shirt supporters at the Miracle Grand Hotel near Don Mueang Airport. It was far from a splendid fund-raising party. Out of 70 tables of Chinese food sold for Bt500,000 each, only 30 were occupied.
Veera Musikaphong and Nathawut Saikua were the organisers. Both have already been rewarded handsomely for their leading role in the Red Shirt campaign over the past two years. They would be retiring as rich men.
At the phone-in at the Miracle Grand, Thaksin said his opponents had slanted him to create an impressionthat he was not loyal to the Monarchy but in fact he had always been loyal.
By now Thaksin must have realised that his political battle has come to an end. He cannot prevail over the military, the justice system and Parliament, which used to be his stronghold. He has lost it badly. There is no way that he can reverse the tide.
Newin Chidchob and other coalition partners have abandoned him, jumping ship to join the Democrat-led government and voting for Abhisit Vejjajiva as the 27th prime minister of Thailand. Pretty soon his hard-core supporters in the police and bureaucracy will be removed from power one by one.
Thaksin can only move around from one place to another. But there is no place like home.
Abhisit has given him a hint in a TV interview today. He urged Thaksin to return home to face corruption trials. Abhisit guaranteed that Thaksin will be treated honourably as a former premier. But every legal process will proceed according to law.
“First of all, however, Khun Thaksin has to accept the country’s legal procdures,” Abhisit said. He added that Thai people have mercies and are ready to forgive if one accepted his guilt.
Abhisit’s invitation for Thaksin to return home sounds sweet. But Thaksin would have to go straight to jail on day one of his returning home. Then he will have to stand trial on several cases such as the Export-Import Bank’s lending to Myanmar. He might end up going to court for several years.
But if he indeed decides to return home, he might be able to salvage his base. The longer he delays his decision, the faster his political base will disappear.
Will he return home soon? Santa Claus might not be coming to town.
Thaksin created Newin, or Newin created Thaksin
Thaksin is now venting his anger at Newin and his father, Chai Chidchob, the House Speaker, the most for having betrayed him. Newin has more than 30 MPs in his pocket. A political genius in the Machiavellian style, he has a killing instinct. He realised that Thaksin was a dead horse, so it would be futile for him to whip up the dead horse.
–Still being updated————-