Thaksin Still Faces Trial Despite Exile to UK
The man can run but he certainly can't hide, nor seem to shake off his avid grim reapers.
On Friday, Thailand's Supreme Court rejected a request by Thaksin Shinawatra's lawyer to suspend his impending corruption case after they skipped bail and flee into exile in UK after slipping from Beijing last Monday.
BANGKOK (Reuters) - 15th August, 2008 - Thailand's Supreme Court denied a request on Friday by the lawyers of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to have a corruption case against him and his wife suspended after they skipped bail and went into exile.
And the billionaire fugitive who hoped to dodge a corruption trial, was given more bad press when he was seen to go shopping in Surrey, England with his wife and their 3 children, Pangthongtae, Paethongtarn and Pinthongta.
While he went window-shopping, the couple's lawyer argued and pleaded to the court in Thailand that since Thaksin and Potjaman were no longer in Thailand, the case should be dropped from trial.
However the presiding judge was less than impressed and answered the request with a decided slice of his mallet.
"Even in their absence, the court believes it has authority to proceed with the case," the judge told the court.
The judge further issued an arrest warrant on the two exiles after failing to appear in court on Monday.
The crux of the charge was in connection to Thaksin's wife act of purchasing a piece of state land for a knock-down price (while Thaksin was still in premiership) which was a clear breach of law that prohibited any relatives of political leaders to enter into such agreement.
Thailand's local newspaper, The Nation condemned the ex-Prime Minister as to exclaim that the contents of Thaksin's handwritten statement which included reasons why he fled the country, his dissapointment for the justice system as well as his wish to "breathe his last" on the soil of his homeland as "little more than a bad script for some cheap soap opera."
“We have heard it all before. Besides, this is not the first time that Thaksin has claimed somebody was trying to kill him. But he has never made an effort to provide evidence to back up his claim.”
It was further reported that he trial which would (almost definitely) lead to a guilty verdict (which could be handed down in absentia) would threaten his English Premier League Soccer club, Manchester City.
Under league rules, club directors can be dismised if they are found guilty of corruption by a "competent court" anywhere in the world.
Thailand prosecution has also started the process of extraditing Thaksin to face trial from the British government. Which may not be such a walk in the park, considering after all the complicated history of Britsish extradition policy.
And as Thaksin flees, leaving behind some US$2bil in assets (have been frozen by the 2006-coup-leaders), certainly didn't stop him and his family from having a "jolly" good time in Guilford but alas' - corruptio optimi pessima - the corruption of the best, is the worst of all...
(Previous story on Thaksin's exile to UK can be found here)