BANGKOK (AFP): Prime ministerial hopeful Thaksin Shinawatra admitted to Thailand’s anti-graft body today that he had failed to declare assets of nearly 15 million dollars, but insisted he had simply forgot. “I have filed an incomplete asset declaration, but I did not intend to, because I had no reason to conceal my assets,” Thaksin told reporters after a crucial appearance before the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) that could determine his poltical career. “There was no corruption in my case,” said the telecommunications tycoon turned politician, who leads the Thai Rak Thai party, tipped to win the national election on January 6. In his testimony before the anti-graft body, Thaksin claimed he simply forgot to declare 2.5 percent of his vast fortune, or about 647 million baht (14.9 million dollars). The NCCC called Thaksin to examine whether he purposefully filed false asset declarations after his brief stint as deputy prime minister in 1997. Local newspapers have alleged Thaksin made dubious transfers of billions of baht worth of shares in several of his companies to a number of his relatives and servants to hide assets. If, after hearing the testimony of Thaksin and his wife, the NCCC finds him guilty, and its decision is approved by the Constitutional Court, he will be slapped with a five-year ban from politics that could cripple his party.
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