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"Former Thai PM 'will face' criminal charges over airport land, CTX deal"

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Former Thai PM guilty of fraud in airport land purchase, CTX deal
Thailand - The Bangkok Post

The Bank of Thailand will file corruption charges against former premier
Thaksin Shinawatra, based on evidence by the National Counter Corruption
Commission that the deposed leader was involved in two fraud. Finance
Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula vowed today that the cases would reach a
criminal court.

Corruption busters appointed by Thailand's ruling junta have found that Mr
Thaksin was personally involved in an alleged overpriced purchase of
equipment at Bangkok's new Suvarnabhumi airport and a controversial land
deal in 2003. 

The Shinawatra family's high-profile lawyer Noppadol Pattama said Mr Thaksin
will return to prove his innocence if he is charged with involvement in two
controversial deals.

Mr Noppadol claimed that the Council for National Security (CNS) and Assets
Scrutiny Committee (ASC) were trying to boost their own achievements 100
days after the coup by linking Mr Thaksin with the scandals.

As a former committee member overseeing policies of Suvarnabhumi airport, Mr
Thaksin is not involved in the purchase of CTX 9000 bomb scanners at the
airport, said Mr Noppadol. He said the Assets Scrutiny Committee has
interpreted laws "inaccurately" for finding that Mr Thaksin and Khunying
Potjaman Shinawatra were guilty in the land deal.

The two cases, already widely publicised, are known locally as the CTX bomb
scanner purchase for the airport, and the Ratchadaphisek land scandal, which
already has enmeshed his wife, Khunying Potjaman.

The junta, which came to power after toppling the Thaksin government in a
bloodless coup in September, justified the putsch by saying that rampant
corruption during his five years in office had undermined democracy. 

The army-installed government is investigating his family's business deals,
including their January sale of Shin Corp shares to Singapore's Temasek
Holdings, for alleged violations of Thai laws. 

Mr Thaksin's family sold their 49 per cent stake in Shin Corp, a telecom
giant founded by the ousted premier, to the Singaporean state-linked
investment firm for $1.9 billion (78 billion baht) under a tax free deal. 

The tax deal triggered months of street protests demanding Mr Thaksin's
resignation over alleged abuse of power and corruption, culminating in the
Sept 19 coup. 

After the power grab, the military reinstated the anti-corruption
commission, which had been dormant for more than a year, and set up the
Asset Scrutinising Committee with the power to seize assets from Thaksin and
other former officials.

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