Thailand

Thai court seizes Thaksin's fortune

A supporter of Thaksin Shinawatra cries as she learns the Supreme Court's ruling.
A supporter of Thaksin Shinawatra cries as she learns the Supreme Court's ruling. Reuters

Thailand's Supreme Court stripped Thaksin Shinawatra of more than half of his 1.7-billion-euro fortune on Friday, after ruling that the former prime minister had concealed his assets while in office and abused his power for personal gain. Thaksin dismissed the ruling as politically motivated.

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Judges ordered the seizure of 46 billion baht (1.05 billion euros) of Thaksin's assets, which have been frozen since the 2006 coup that ousted him.

However they allowed the former premier to hold on to the wealth he had already accumulated before taking office in 2001.

Thaksin, who lives abroad to avoid a two-year jail term for corruption in Thailand, said in a video speech from Dubai that he was the "political martyr" of a conspiracy to remove him from politics.

"This case is very political. [...] The ruling will be a joke for the world," he said.

"The government knew the result in advance. I've been prepared for the result since yesterday. I knew that I would get hit, but they are kind enough to give me back 30 billion [baht]."

Thousands of troops and police had been deployed in readiness for what the local media dubbed "Judgement Day", but there were no outbreaks of violence by Thaksin's "Red Shirt" supporters after the ruling.

Senior Red Shirt Jatuporn Prompan rejected the ruling as "totally unfair" to Thaksin and vowed to go ahead with planned rallies beginning 12 March in Bangkok.

The court ruled that Thaksin illegally concealed his ownership of stock in Shin Corp, the family's telecommunications empire, and abused his authority by crafting government policies to benefit Shin Corp's businesses.

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