Thaksin Found Guilty over Burma Loan
covering burma and southeast asia
Sunday, June 16, 2024

Thaksin Found Guilty over Burma Loan

By SAW YAN NAING and THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Saturday, February 27, 2010


BANGKOK — A low-interest loan to Burma by Thailand's state-owned Exim Bank was among the many items on a list of charges that ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was found guilty of yesterday.

Thailand's Supreme Court said that Thaksin had abused his power while in office to pressure the Foreign Ministry to approve a 4 billion baht (US $127 million) loan to Burma so that his Shinawatra Satellite Co could profit from telecoms contracts.

In 2004, Shinawatra Satellite leased a satellite service for broadband Internet access and telephone service to Bagan Cybertech, a Burmese company owned by the son of former Burmese Prime Minister Gen Khin Nyunt.

However, under the Bagan Declaration, a regional economic agreement signed by the Thai, Burmese, Lao and Cambodian governments, Thailand's Ministry of Finance cannot approve loans by the bank for the telecoms sector.

The Supreme Court ruled that in four out of five cases presented to it, Thaksin had used his authority as the country's leader from 2001 to 2006 to implement policies that benefited him, sometimes at the expense of the state.

As a small consolation, the court said that only 46 billion baht ($1.4 billion) of 76 billion baht ($2.3 billion) of his family's assets that were frozen in Thai accounts after he was deposed by a coup in 2006 should be seized.

With other cases pending against him and his family, it is unclear when the remainder might be released. An unknown amount of Thaksin's fortune is banked overseas.

The Supreme Court said seizing all the assets “would be unfair as some of it was made before Thaksin became prime minister.”

Audio of the judges reading the 7-1/2 hour verdict was broadcast on several local television stations. Hundreds of people gathered at the headquarters of the opposition Puea Thai party—allied to Thaksin—booed as the final judgments were read. Some women began crying and one man jumped up on a chair and started screaming at a television screen broadcasting the proceedings.

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Robert Wrote:
The editors of the Irrawaddy must be pleased. On the other hand they do not have the courage to comment on the extreme human rights abuses under the Abhisit /Suthep government and the Thai junta. That is quite a sad thing.

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