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NEWS UPDATES 12 August 2010

Thai court seizes (finally) Thaksin's billions

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In a special plenary session, Thailand's Supreme Court rejected the appeal of Thaksin Shinawatra's defense team and seized 46 billion baht (US$1.4 million) from the fugitive prime minister.

The court rejected the appeal on the basis that no new evidence had been presented by the defense to uphold an appeal.

The money had been held and not spent by the government because of an earlier decision by the court that this was the amount of money that Mr. Thaksin had earned illegally while serving in office as prime minister.

Thaksin also has been charged with terrorism for financing the red shirt protest that led to a response from the government on May 19 that left 90 dead and set off arson attacks against 39 government and private buildings in the center of Bangkok's main upscale shopping district.

It will be of interest to see how the government spends the money. Some advisers say it should be used to bring the country's budget into balance sooner.

In any event, the long and tragic tale of Thaksin winds slowly to an end, although he has many supporters in the country who hope to have him return to Thailand if his party wins the next general election sometime in 2011.

Right now, he has two warrants out for his arrest and keeps his whereabouts secret as he whisks around the globe in his private jet. Previous hangouts included Dubai and Montenegro.

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