Sun, Jul 15, 2007 - Page 5 News List

Thailand to freeze more of Thaksin's assets

LATEST ORDER A post-coup state watchdog has frozen assets worth more than 75.5 billion baht apparently controlled by the former Thai prime minister and his family

AP , BANGKOK

The Thai government will freeze an additional 500 million baht (US$16.4 million) in assets believed to be controlled by ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who has been accused of corruption, a state anti-graft body said.

The latest order on Friday to freeze the assets of Thaksin and his family would bring the total to more than 75.5 billion baht frozen on suspicion that the money was obtained through corrupt means.

Since the middle of last month, the state Assets Examination Commission -- established after a coup deposed Thaksin last September -- has been freezing assets belonging to the former prime minister and his family pending the outcome of court cases related to charges of corruption and abuse of power.

If the courts rule against Thaksin, the money could be seized by the government.

The panel is seeking the money earned from the Thaksin Shinawatra family's 74.3 billion baht sale last year of telecommunications company Shin Corp.

Family members face charges that stock market reg-ulations were broken in connection with the sale.

Thaksin has denied any wrongdoing and has accused the military-appointed government that succeeded him of persecuting him for political reasons.

Noppadol Pattama, Thaksin's lawyer and de facto spokesman in Thailand, said Thaksin and his legal team may appeal the decision to freeze his assets next week.

The committee believes the money earned from the Shin Corp deal has been shifted around through several bank accounts.

Thaksin has been dividing his time between a home in London and travel around Asia since the Sept. 19 coup that ousted him while he was abroad.

He has been given until the end of this month to report to Thai police or face a possible arrest warrant on charges related to a case of failing to report corporate information to the Thai stock exchange, a deadline he has said he won't meet.

His Thai Rak Thai Party was recently dissolved by the courts, which found it had violated electoral law last year, and its 111 executive officers were barred from public office for five years.

Thaksin became a billionaire in the telecommunications sector before entering politics and serving as prime minister from 2001 to last year.

He was ousted after demonstrations calling for him to step down because of alleged corruption and abuse of power.

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