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Court asked to decide on asset seizure


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Thaksin’s frozen assets:
Court asked to decide on asset seizure

Thai prosecutors on Monday asked the Supreme Court to decide whether $2.2 billion of frozen money belonging to ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra's family could be seized by the state, reported AFP.

On Sunday, Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank, where more than half of the money is deposited, said it would seek a board decision over a government request to release 12 billion baht ($353 million) from the frozen accounts.

SCB said in a statement on Sunday that a letter from the Revenue Department received late on Friday demanded the bank to transfer the money to the department.

The bank said as the accounts have been frozen under the order of the Assets Examination Committee, it finds it impossible to comply with both orders, which are conflicting in practice.

The statement came after newspapers reports said the government was allegedly seeking to return the money to two adult children of Thaksin Shinawatra later.

Prosecutors are due on Monday to ask the Supreme Court to seize Thaksin's 76 billion baht assets frozen in Thai bank accounts, shortly after he was ousted in a 2006 coup.

About 94 boxes of evidence arrived at the Bangkok courthouse by truck, all aiming to prove that the entrepreneur-turned-politician was "unusually rich."

"We have come to ask the court to issue an order to confiscate this wealth," said Sakesan Bangsomboon, director general of the special litigation division at the attorney general's office.

The Supreme Court will now have to set up a team of judges to decide whether they will take the case. No time frame was given.

Authorities have frozen US$2.2 billion in Thai bank accounts belonging to Thaksin and members of his family as part of corruption investigations into the tycoon, who was toppled in a 2006 coup.

Thaksin and his wife Pojaman skipped bail and fled to Britain on August 11 to dodge a slate of corruption charges against them, but the cases are continuing in the couple's absence.

The money that prosecutors are seeking to seize represents most of the profits Thaksin's family earned when they sold his Shin Corp telecom empire in 2006 to Singapore investment firm Temasek Holdings.

The tax-free sale of Shin Corp sparked a public uproar, bringing tens of thousands of people into the streets in protests. The build-up of unrest eventually led to the coup against Thaksin.

He fled to Britain claiming that he could not receive a fair trial in Thailand and that he feared for his family's safety.

Thaskin's lawyer says he will seek political asylum in Britain, where he owns the Premier League club Manchester City.

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