After nearly seven hours this is the verdict:
Thailand’s Supreme Court has ruled that former PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s family should be stripped of more than half a contested $2.3bn fortune.
The court said $1.4bn (£910m) of the assets were gained illegally through conflict of interest when Mr Thaksin was prime minister.
The funds were frozen after Mr Thaksin’s elected government was overthrown in a military coup in 2006.
The Supreme Court said “to seize all the money would be unfair since some of it was made before Thaksin became prime minister“.
The court took several hours to deliver its verdict, with security forces on high alert amid government predictions of violence by Mr Thaksin’s red-shirted supporters if the court decision went against him.
The judges said that Mr Thaksin shaped government mobile phone and satellite communications policy to benefit his firms.
He abused his power to benefit telecoms company Shin Corp, which he owned then, earning wealth from shares sales in the company through “inappropriate means”, they ruled.
(“Thailand top court seizes part of Thaksin fortune“, BBC News, Feb 26, 2010)
My initial thoughts are that the court would seize Thaksin’s money no matter what, it was rather a question how much will be seized. A shock decision to take everything away from him has not occurred, which would have created a much stronger reactions by the red shirts.
While the court has found that all inquiry was legal, we can not forget that the legal basis is a direct effect after the coup.
So far, it appears to be quiet in Bangkok and other places where the red shirts have gathered, TV footage show them in a rather defeated, sad mood than in an angry one. A much composed Thaksin has held a statement after the verdict, dressed in a black suit, thanking his supporters and urged them not to protest or cause any troubles.
I’m not sure if you can call a winner or a loser in this case (shades of grey exit everywhere) or if it is a decision that will make everybody happy or not. I think after today’s events, the situation will cool down for quite a bit until March, when the red shirts will hold their mass rally.
- Newley Purnell: Thaksin asset ruling: Images from Thailand’s Supreme Court today
- Absolutely Bangkok: Golden Verdict
- Bangkok Pundit: Thaksin on the asset seizure case
- Not The Nation: Supreme Court Judge Adds Entire Unpublished Screenplay To 900-Page Verdict (satire alert!)