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Ousted PM seeks unfreezing of his Bt40 billion

Deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Thursday filed a request with the Assets Examination Committee through his lawyers to unfreeze his family's assets worth more than Bt40 billion.

Thursday marked the end of the 60-day deadline for Thaksin and his wife, Khunying Pojaman Shinawatra, to file their objection to the freezing of the assets before a proper investigation is launched. The deadline was set by the AEC subcommittee led by Amnuay Thanthara, which is probing the Shin Corp share sale to Singapore's Temasek by the Shinawatra family.

The AEC has been freezing the Shinawatra family's assets since June after gathering sufficient evidence to make the case that Thaksin, and his wife, controlled Shin Corp while he was prime minister, using relatives and family associates as shareholders. The antigraft body also said that it had enough evidence to prove that Thaksin had committed malfeasance, making him unusually wealthy.

The former premier's lawyer, Somporn Pongsuwan, said he had requested the AEC to unfreeze Thaksin's assets worth Bt500 million and Pojaman's assets worth 2.8 billion within seven days on grounds that his client had assets worth more than Bt50 billion before he entered politics.

Kittiporn Arunrat, another authorised lawyer, requested the AEC to unfreeze the combined assets of Thaksin's children, Pinthongta and Panthongtae, worth Bt40 billion within seven days.

AEC spokesman Sak Korsaengruang said that Thaksin and his family needed to prove in testimony that they earned the assets legally. "Lawyers' statements are not testimony. The Shinawatra family will have to give proof by themselves," he said.

Pichit Chuenban, a lawyer authorised by Pojaman's brother, Bhanapot Damapong, requested that the AEC unfreeze Bt19 billion of his assets.

Phichit said Bhanapot was a Shin Corp shareholder and has held the shares for more than 11 years - well before Thaksin assumed the post of prime minister. The AEC froze Bhanapot's Bt200 million, which accounts for more than the proceeds earned by the sale of Shin Corp shares. The AEC also seized assets worth Bt7 million owned by Bhanapot's wife, Busaba, even though she had nothing to do with the Shin Corp share sales, Phichit said.

He called upon the AEC to unfreeze Bt200 million in assets within 30 days.

Weerapat Srichaiya, a lawyer for Yinglak Shinawatra, has also requested that the AEC unfreeze Bt100 million of her assets within seven days citing that the sum had been earned legally.

by Budsarakham Sinlapalavan,

Bancha Khaengkhan

The Nation

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