Power abuse conviction costs ex-Thai leader $1.4bnFormer PM: in exile in Dubai
THE Thai authorities were last night braced for demonstrations after the country's highest court seized $1.4bn (€1.03bn) of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's assets and ruled that the exiled tycoon had abused his power in office.
The Supreme Court said he had concealed his ownership of shares in a family business during the five years he held the post. During that time, the court said, he had engineered government policy to benefit the conglomerate.
In advance of "Judgment Day" authorities had deployed thousands of additional guards in anticipation of protests by Thaksin's supporters. The court's judges were assigned bodyguards and bullet-proof vehicles. Mobile signals were jammed to prevent the remote detonation of explosives.
Thailand has been racked by turmoil since Thaksin was ousted in a military coup in 2006. In December 2008, Abhisit Vejjajiva, leader of the opposition Democrat Party, took charge.
The verdict against Thaksin was unanimous. The court found him guilty on all five charges, which included fixing government policy to benefit his family company, Shin Corp.
Thaksin, previously convicted in absentia of corruption and sentenced to two years in jail, had denied all the charges. "The government knew the result in advance," he told his supporters from Dubai.
Political scientist Thitinan Pongsudhirak said: "(This will) not put an end to Thailand's crisis because now Thaksin's supporters, the Red Shirts, have evolved into their own force." (© Independent News Service)