ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thai authorities to seize Thaksin’s $2.2bn assets
Thailand’s attorney general will proceed with the record confiscation of 76 billion baht ($2.2 billion) in currently frozen assets of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra and his family on charges of having abused his power to make undue personal and family gains, reported the Thai News Agency (TNA) on Wednesday.
Thailand’s Deputy Attorney General Waiyawuth Lortrakul, who earlier headed a subcommittee under the now-disbanded Assets Examination Committee (AEC), said the proposed confiscation of the assets of Thaksin and his family, valued at 76 billion, will be forwarded next week by Office of the Attorney General (OAG) to Supreme Court judges dealing with criminal lawsuits involving persons with political status.
The former premier and his wife, Pojaman, had on Monday failed to appear in court and were believed to be seeking political asylum in Britain.
They might become assets of the state in due course if the Supreme Court rules in favour of the confiscation of the foreclosed holdings of the former premier and his family.
In addition, the Thai attorney general’s office has also begun considering a possible bid to extradite former premier, said AFP on Wednesday.
Sirisak Tiyapan, head of the Thai OAG’s international affairs department, was quoted by AFP as saying that his office had begun looking into the legalities of seeking his extradition but added no government agency has so far filed a motion requesting the attorney general to seek Thaksin’s return to Thailand.
“Whether we can successfully extradite him depends on the country we put the request to. So far there is no formal request yet,” Sirisak said.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s foreign ministry has also asked the Supreme Court’s criminal division for holders of political positions to confirm that it has issued arrest warrants for the ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife so that it may proceed with revoking the premier’s diplomatic passport.
Thai permanent secretary for foreign affairs Virasak Footrakul revealed that the confirmation from the court will be used for considering the revocation of the diplomatic passport of Thaksin, who was ousted in a bloodless coup on Sept 19, 2006.
After receiving the confirmation, Virasak said, the ministry will report to Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag, who would then notify the Thai embassy in London which would coordinate with the Home and Foreign Offices of the British government to help extradite Thaksin.
While Thaksin holds a diplomatic passport, his wife and his three children carry ordinary passports, he said.