27 Sep 2006

Thaksin’s Assets Should be Frozen, say Opponents

Lets all try and keep our eye on this ball and not get distracted. It was enough to cause the collapse of an elected representative in Thailand. Surely this should be reverberating around Singapore?
(Online Commentary)
By Bruce Kent
September 26, 2006

While Thailand’s new ruling military council struggles to put the international community at ease about its intentions, Many people in Bangkok are pushing for a freeze on ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s massive assets.

The Council for Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy, as the generals call themselves, has quickly set up a new National Counter Corruption Committee and an offshoot special assets-investigation panel, which is to be applauded. Thaksin, and many members of his cabinet and business cronies, are suspected of making fortunes while he was in power.

Thaksin’s Shin Corp telecommunications empire is reliably calculated to have quadrupled its financial strength during his five years in power.

But for many observers in Bangkok, the CDRM’s moves to install the anti-graft network isn’t enough. They want the financial blood of Thaksin and his associates as quickly as possible. That means swiftly freezing their assets.

While the anti-corruption fighters are equipped with the power to freeze assets, they want to be seen to be carefully following the rule of law. They first have to have evidence of wrongdoing by the suspects, such as hiding assets, before any freeze.

The anti-corruption team and the CDRM—which has been the butt of mostly-ill informed criticism in the West since its military putsch—also don’t want to be seen to be persecuting Thaksin, whatever his sins.

An estimated US$ 1.3 billion of his $1.9 billion windfall from Shin Corp’s sale is reliably reported to be in three or four Bangkok banks.

That was when he claimed his “one son and two daughters,” all in their twenties, sold most of Shin tax free to the Singapore government’s investment arm, Temasek, run by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s wife, Ho Ching. Themasek is worth more than $100 billion, but Ho cannot be feeling that good over the acquisition of Shin.

Estimates in the squeaky-clean city state put Temasek’s losses on the Shin deal to date at more than $1 billion. This was because of the market fall of most of Shin’s subsidiaries since Thaksin’s political woes following the group’s sale. And this certainly wasn’t helped when the prime minister lost power in the September 19 coup.

Thaksin’s wealth, of course, is much bigger than the $ 1.9 billion Shin deal. There are persistent stories in Bangkok of two special flights leaving Bangkok airport’s military airstrip, each loaded with some 50 Thaksin suitcases just before the coup. There were, of course, no customs question asked in Bangkok, and the planes are said to have headed for unknown destinations.

That is probably a more reliable way of getting assets out of a country than a telegraphic transfer.


Matilah_Singapura said...

> Many people in Bangkok are pushing for a freeze on ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s massive assets.

Pay attention folks — this is an example of the mob rule of democracy — it doesn't give a shit about the law or justice.

"A man is innocent until proven guilty" — so where the so-called "due process"? Thugsin may be an unsavoury character and a corrupt person — but he is still entitled to due process.

Perhaps the "mob" were incited to call for a freezing of his assets because maybe a court case will uncover the TRUTH... and there might be some "truths" which are making some people uncomfortable, and perhaps these folks might do things to prevent due-process from ever occuring.

Politics is a dirty game. Thaksin has enemies, but how many of those enemies are really squeaky clean?

This kind of tyranny is akin to the S'pore govt freezing the assets (aka Mareva Injuction) of Worker's Party Cheng San GRC candidate Tang Liang Hong — although the S'pore govt did it through the courts, adding charges of "tax evasion" to the original defamation case. The poor bastard was put thru the wringer and sued for MILLIONS by PAP Ministers, MP's and the PM. Even his wife was victimised by the state apparatus.

> ...has quickly set up a new National Counter Corruption Committee and an offshoot special assets-investigation panel, which is to be applauded.

Absolute and total nonsense. These are the words of a neo-Nazi sympathiser.

Allowing this kind of power to be wielded by the state-officials who SEIZED POWER AND TOOK OVER THE COUNTRY is bloody dangerous.

Anyway, the "horse has already bolted"..or may have. Thugsin continued "moolighting" as a billionaire tycoon "whilst serving his cuntry" as Prime Minister. Although some people criticised him for this, no one really gave a shit... and basically he was allowed to be as he wished.

What fool would ever believe that there would be a conflict of interest? Dumb arseholes!

Who, eaxctly, is watching the generals (watchmen)? I would like to believe the King is. But anyone can see that that is clearly not enough.

The Thai constitution has been suspended. So really the junta can make up their own rules, laws and edicts. So far they are behaving with restraint... or at least seem to be.

But no amount of snapshots showing flowers on tanks and soldiers playing with kids will ever convince me that it is "safe" in Thailand. There is inherent danger in Thailand's current political situation, and things can change in a flash.

lee hsien tau said...

I hope what General Sonthi Boonyaratgalin has done doesn't put ideas into the head of LKY.