(AFP) – Oct 16, 2008
BANGKOK (AFP) — Thailand's Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to rule on whether Thai authorities can seize about 2.2 billion dollars of frozen assets belonging to ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
Prosecutors accuse Thaksin of accumulating the money through questionable business deals when he was in power, and the funds were frozen by an anti-corruption body soon after the telecoms tycoon was ousted in a 2006 coup.
"The judges agreed to accept the case and set the opening of the case on December 25," a court official told AFP.
The 76 billion baht represents most of the profits Thaksin's family earned when they sold his Shin Corp telecom empire in 2006 to Singapore's state-linked investment firm Temasek Holdings.
The tax-free sale sparked public uproar, bringing tens of thousands of protesters into the streets, which eventually led to the coup.
Thaksin fled to Britain with his family in August and is seeking political asylum, arguing that he would not get a fair trial in Thailand on the corruption charges mounting against him.
Prosecutors have forged ahead with the cases regardless.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court issued a fifth arrest warrant against Thaksin on charges of amending tax policy to enrich his business empire.
Thaksin is facing a variety of corruption cases, and his wife Pojaman was on July 31 convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to three years in jail.
She appealed, but analysts have said the court decision against her stunned Thaksin and helped spark the couple's flight into exile.
Thaksin was dropped from the Forbes list of Thailand's billionaires in July 2007 after his assets were frozen.
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