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Thaksin on graft charges

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Thaksin on graft charges | Thaiger

BANGKOK (The Nation): The attorney-general has filed a criminal lawsuit against Thaksin Shinawatra, accusing him of abusing power while serving as prime minister by converting telecom concessions to benefit Shin Corp at a cost of 66 billion baht in damages to Thailand.

After an initial delay, the attorney-general yesterday took up the policy corruption case involving Shin Corp, which was investigated by the Assets Examination Committee (AEC). Seksarn Bangsomboon, director of Special Criminal Cases, lodged the lawsuit – contained in three large cases, 20 files and almost 20,000 pages of documents – at the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders.

The suit, signed by Attorney-General Chaikasem Nitisiri and including his written opinion, alleges that Thaksin violated the law by holding state concessions through his stock-ownership concealment in Shin Corp while he was prime minister.

Thaksin gained unusual wealth in Shin Corp, it said, by having state agencies convert the telecom concessions to excise tax to benefit Shin Corp. TOT and CAT Telecom, who awarded the concessions to the subsidiaries of Shin, stood to lose 41.95 billion and 25.99 billion baht, respectively, from the conversions.

Thaksin and his wife Khunying Pojaman are already on trial at the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders in a separate case involving Pojaman’s purchase of a prime plot in the Rachadaphisek area of Bangkok from the Financial Institutions Development Fund. In this case, Thaksin is charged with violating the law by using his high office to endorse the deal with the FIDF, a state institution.

The Shin Corp case is, however, more damaging to Thaksin than the Rachadaphisek land deal because it involves alleged stock concealment, tax evasion and policy corruption to increase the value of his Shin stocks.

The AEC has found that Thaksin and Pojaman still owned Shin Corp from February 2001 up to the sale of the company in January 2006, during all of which time he was serving as prime minister .

The couple allegedly used their children Panthongtae and Pinthongta, Pojaman’s brother Banaphot Damapong, and Thaksin’s sister Yingluck, as well as Ample Rich Investment Ltd and Win Mark Ltd, as nominees to conceal their real ownership of 49 per cent of the outstanding shares of Shin Corp.

Banaphot’s promissory notes, issued to purchase the Shin Corp stocks from Pojaman in March 1999, named “Khunying Pojaman” as the beneficiary, but at that time Pojaman had not received the khunying title, implying that the promissory notes were issued retroactively as a cover-up.

The attorney-general has already reserved Sunai Manomai-udom, the former head of the Department of Special Investigation, Sanya Waranyu and Thirachai Phuvanat-naranubala, the secretary-general of the Securities and Exchange Commission, as state witnesses in the alleged stock-ownership cover-up.

It has also reserved Areepong Phucha-um, Sathit Limphongphun and Sommai Phasi as state witnesses on the conversion of the concessions.

The Supreme Court will form a panel to consider the Shin deal before ruling on whether to accept the suit.

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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