Former Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra will find out next month what will happen to his 76 billion Baht (2.2 billion USD) worth of frozen assets. Thailand’s Supreme Court has announced that February 26 will be the date when the verdict is given in the case involving Thaksin and the telecommunications group, Shin Corp. It is alleged that whilst he was prime minister of Thailand, Thaksin illegally hid his assets and abused his position of power to enable financial gain for the Shinawatra family when Shin Corp was sold off in 2006. The ins and outs of the case are quite intricate and prosecutors and defence teams now have 30 days to submit their closing statements before the verdict is announced on February 26.
Since the military coup that ousted him from office in September 2006, Thaksin has been living in exile. This particular case is one of a number against Thaksin concerning alleged corruption during his time in power as Thailand’s prime minister. In October 2008, Thaksin was found guilty in absentia of a conflict of interests over a land deal and was sentenced to two years in prison. The former Thai leader maintains the verdict was politically motivated and whilst protesting his innocence from abroad he has continued to play a significant role in Thai politics despite living in exile. Thaksin Shinawatra is the main figurehead of the red shirt movement and next month’s verdict will go a long way in determining the next move by the red shirts. Whichever way the verdict goes, Thailand’s political problems are set to continue for the foreseeable future.