Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Nation: Pridiyathorn's Assets, Unusually Wealthy?

Pridiyathorn tops latest NCCC

The Nation

The National Counter Corruption Commission yesterday released the financial statements of five past and present Cabinet members, including former deputy prime minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula, who is a member of the "billionaires' club".

From his statement filed 30 days after leaving his office in March, Pridiyathorn had Bt730 million in assets, a slight drop from Bt754 million when he took office last October.

His wife Praphaphan has a net worth of Bt283 million, while his daughter Pudjeep has Bt7 million.

When holding office as deputy prime minister and finance minister, he and his wife put about half of their assets in securities and savings accounts. Their combined wealth in securities and other investments is worth Bt565 million.

They have Bt89 million in savings.

My thoughts:

Is it just me or is this unusually wealthy for some guy who has worked primarily for the bureaucracy the last 25 years or so?

Wikipedia has his resume:

Pridiyathorn was educated at Thammasat University, Bangkok, and at the University of Pennsylvania, where he gained an MBA.

From 1971 to 1990 he worked for the Thai Farmers Bank, becoming Senior Executive Vice President.

In 1990 he became official spokesman for Prime Minister Chatichai Choonhavan. In the governments of Anand Panyarachun and Suchinda Kraprayoon (1991-92) he was Deputy Minister of Commerce.

He was appointed member of the Thai Senate from 1992 to 1993.

In 1993 he became president of the Export-Import Bank of Thailand, and in May 2001 he was appointed Governor of the Bank of Thailand, the nation's central bank.

He is also a Director of the Civil Service Commission and of the Thammasat University Council.

My thoughts:

I really hate The Nation. It doesn't even bother listing his assets. Why doesn't The Nation ever do a investigative report on a politician's assets and conflict of interest? After all, that is their job. That is what they are supposed to do.

If he bought shares of Thai Farmer's Bank back when it was first listed and reinvested those shares, would he be as wealthy as he is today?

He could have also bought a lot of property back in the day when land was still cheap. He most likely would have received loans from his own bank.

Damn, that is a lot of calculating to do for a lazy blogger like myself. Anybody got any ideas?

Also, I would like to know what he did with assets after announcing the capital controls.

He only lost 20 million. Why did he have any control over his assets while he was Finance Minister?

New provision in the new constitution, two words: Blind Trust


Anonymous said...

TJS, do yourself a favour: Stop embarrassing it. This is coming to a point where I do pity you. Do you know what will happen when the media digs up leading politicians' suspicious wealth? Some pathetically hypocritical critics or bloggers will throw "Show me where he broke the law" at the media's face!!! I'm sure that whatever Pridiyathorn did to become so obscenely rich, he must have done it "legally." In a world where people defend the existence of shares in servants' accounts and ridiculous self-owned offshore company, what can the media do? Oh yes, they become militant, because they think such action is morally wrong but legally unpunishable. And what do the media get? Oh yes, holier-than-thou bloggers from all over the world will seek to undermine the credibility of their findings and criticism. Show me the evidence that he broke the law blah blah. Friendly loans? Don't make me laugh. Conflicts of interests? Goodness me, you know that word too, huh? I thought your "stand" is politicians are corrupt more or less and we should tolerate this fact. Since when have you started to care about conflicts of interests and think it's something that should be investigated? Since when have you thought that all pieces of assets should be scrutinised inside and out and the media have the duty to do that? Since when have you thought that whatever the law says, the media should expose all suspected irregularities? Re-read what you have written in your blog. Don't you feel any shame? How many times have you virtually said Thaksin didn't break the law and they couldn't charge him? The Nation and Bangkok Post and other Thai media have presented Ample Rich and servant shares before your eyes. What do you say about it? They are lawful, huh? They couldn't charge him, huh? Before you ask the media to go after Pridiyathorn's assets, answer my questions first. No, I'm sorry. Give yourself the answers first. I don't need yours. Have a nice day.

Steven Gerrard

Fonzi said...


You are a babbling fool.

Neither The Nation nor the Bangkok Post has ever done a serious investigation uncovering Thaksin's nefarious empire.

And neither The Nation nor the Bangkok Post has done a serious investigation on any politician's assets, which was the point of the blog entry.

The truth Steven is that you have no evidence that would justify overthrowing the last government, and you think we should dissolve governments based on your personal opinion. How lovely!

You babble on about morality this, morality that, but Stevie baby, that is why we have the law, which is supposed to be the collective will of at least the majority.

In the civilized world, we don't overthrow governments because of Steven Gerrard's morality, or because of Steven Gerrard's opinion.

No, Stevie, it is not all about your opinion and your morality and your buddies in the military junta. There are 65 million other people to take in consideration, and their collective will which is enumerated in the constitution, which clearly states how to get rid of people like Thaksin.

And in the civilized world we don't punish the entire population for the so-called immoral acts of one politician.

But in Stevie's world, you believe an illegal military junta that punishes and disenfranchises the whole population is less of a crime than the alleged immorality of one man.

Sorry, Stevie, it is you who needs to be pitied, because you are intellectually inconsistent and a moral hypocrite.

I suggest you start taking the meds for your cognitive dissonance problem.

hobby said...

Why single out Pridiyathorn?

How does the wealth of the current cabinet compare with the previous Thaksin cabinet and others?

Make them all explain where they got their wealth and match it with tax, stock exchange and land titles records.

Blind Trusts would help, but I would prefer that all electoral candidates be made to declare their assets BEFORE the elections.
If it's OK to have a mandatory education standard, then it would be just as acceptable to know a politicians wealth before they are elected.
After the elections, those asset declarations could be audited and non disclosure would be grounds for dismissal.

Anonymous said...

Fonz: "My thoughts:

Is it just me or is this unusually wealthy for some guy who has worked primarily for the bureaucracy the last 25 years or so?"

Yes. Curious isn't it?

Hobby: "Make them all explain where they got their wealth and match it with tax, stock exchange and land titles record"

It wont happen. The letter in the Nation a few weeks back makes it clear that in the writers opinion, no-one will do jail time. Worse, no-one who isnt on the streets making a big noise will even be investigated. Remember Sudarat? Word on the streets is she was the hungriest of the lot of them. But she is doing what will work. Staying low and not rocking the boat.

Of course they wont investigate. If they start they know they wont finish.

Check this link for a very reasonable profile of the Thai psyche and then a lot of curious things become understandable. Read the last section under 'orientations'.

The entire beauraucracy is corrupt from top to bottom. if they clean all the shit out of the stables they will find it was only the shit holding it all together.


Anonymous said...

Fonzi, you haven't asked any of my questions. I'm simply asking: In your "moral" opinion, was Thaksin corrupt or not? I asked because you seemed to place "morality" in high places by asking the media to investigate Pridiyathorn. Why did the media should bother investigating Pridiyathorn, because it was very likely that his wealth was acquired "legally"? Answer me and we go from there.


Anonymous said...

Forgive my English. I meant you to answer (the first sentence)

Anonymous said...

Pridiyathorn is a member of the Chakri royalty.

He and his family have been ทำนาบนหลังคน for centuries. He doesn't need to explain the source of his wealth.

Not unlike Thaksin, who had to cheat the people for his riches....

Fonzi said...


I didn't single out Pridiyathorn. I used him as an example because it was in The Nation today and he is a billionaire--after working the last 26 years in the government. How many billionaires do you know that made their careers as bureaucrats?

There are financial disclosure laws, but the newspapers don't print what the politicians are worth and their conflicts of interest, so I suggest you read the blog entry again because that was the point I was making.

I was attacking The Nation, not Pridiyathorn, for doing a lousy job at disclosing the assets of politicians.


You make an excellent point. The Thaksin haters say it is all about Thaksin, but none of them make a peep about the old Thai Rak Thai crowd, like lovely Sudarat or Newin, or the bureaucrats who are still in place who supposedly facilitate all the corruption. In other words, Thaksin may be gone, but the entire infrastructure is in place, at least in the bureaucracy. Why nobody crying for a coup to get rid of them?

But for some, it is Thaksin this, Thaksin that, as if he was the only one at the trough. Some here talk about the morality of Thaksin, but none talk about the morality of the generals, who are accountable to nobody, or the morality of the palace and the privy council, that are also accountable to no one. Or the morality of the bureaucracy, which is accountable to nobody.

And the new constitution is going to put more power into the hands of the unaccountables.

But, of course, the press does nothing about everybody else and focuses completely on Thaksin, in London, buying a football club, as if he was still in power calling the shots.

Stevie baby-

Quite frankly, I don't know what Thaksin did. I haven't seen any evidence. The Thai media refuses to publish any and the Thai court system refuses to press charges.

How can I make a judgment when there is no evidence?

If you have some evidence, give it to me and I'll throw it up on the blog.

Now if you were to ask me to speculate on Thaksin's morality, I would say that he was immoral on many different levels according to my value system.

For example, I think he should have resigned instead of dragging the country through hell.

I think he should have been transparent in his finances. I think it was immoral to transfer assets to his maid and driver and then blame his wife for an honest mistake.

I think it was immoral to preside over a war on drugs that killed thousands of people without due process of law.

I think it was immoral to do business with an American, steal his assets, then kick him out of the country.

I think it was immoral to set up a universal health care system without making sure the finances were there to deal with the consequences of setting up such a system.

I think it was immoral of him to set a bad personal example as first post 1997 constitution PM.

In the end, my opinion doesn't matter, because my opinion is based on speculation, and my opinion has no bearing in a court of law, a Senate hearing, an impeachment trial, or a corruption commission report.

I don't believe in overthrowing governments based on my personal morality and opinions, unless I was legally given the job to do so.

And I also think it is more immoral to illegally overthrow a government to get rid of one politician based on his alleged corruption.

Two wrongs don't make a right, Stevie.

Anonymous said...

Fonzi, maybe we are getting bit closer. Now one very import question: Do you think Ample Rich and servants' shares _ something "lousy" media like The Nation, Bangkok Post and so forth _ have dug up and presented to the public and tried to point out at irregularities _ constitute "evidence" of corruption?


Fonzi said...


Absolutely not, haven't even come close.

They have done absolutely nothing to prove that Thaksin committed any crimes.

They haven't even bothered to report the names of people who have refused to cooperate in any investigation of Thaksin.

That is how incompetent they are.

Look, if you have the links where either the Bangkok Post or The Nation have done a serious connect direct the dots report on the break down of Thaksin's nefarious empire, I will put them on the blog.

But I am fairly confident that neither newspaper has done a serious investigation of Thaksin, Thai Rak Thai, his former cabinet, their links to government contracts, their assets before and after coming to power, campaign financing, murder, intimidation of the media, political canvassing upcountry, the airport scandals, and the war on drugs.

Also, I am fairly confident that neither newspaper has done an investigative report on how Thaksin undermined and/or corrupted the checks and balances mechanisms of the 1997 constitution.

Lastly, even with Thaksin out of the country and Thai Rak Thai broke and in shambles, the Thai media, which claimed that Thaksin was censoring, still has refused to report what they couldn't report while he was in power.

Now that Thaksin is gone, I would love to know what didn't get into the public discourse because of his threats. Why after seven months has the press been silent about what happened during the Thaksin years. You'd think the press would be eager to tell their story and the stories about Thaksin's corruption that didn't get out.

If I am wrong on any of these points, please enlighten me.

Anonymous said...

You arent qwrong but there is a simple answer to all the questions you raise (rhetorical or no). The answer is that Thais are all for form and no substance. Check this link for insights into the Thai psyche. It may confrm all you suspected.


Fonzi said...


I read that site a long time ago.

A lot of the site is BS, but the part about form and substance is fairly correct.

Part of the reason I choose to be hostile sometimes is to really cut through that phony stuff.

I am really hard on The Nation because it thinks it can just get away with fluff and no substance.

Why do you think I am so adamant about the facts and evidence?

In other words, Mr. Carter, there has been a method to be my madness, whoo haa haa.

Anonymous said...

Agree, the site has got some pretty awful ass-kissing parts but as you say... the orientations part is pretty much on the button. And I know exactly why you sway the side you sway, the rule of law thing that Hobby comments on in another thread is true. In Thailand there is no commitnment to the rue of law, it is all negotiable and can be purchased like a bag of rice. As I opined a while back, I estimate that 90% of the problems with Thailand and Thais could be resolved if the police actually did the job they are paid to do and upheld the law.

Anonymous said...

Fonzi, let's take a look at your own words and review the points of our arguement...

"I really hate The Nation. It doesn't even bother listing his assets. Why doesn't The Nation ever do a investigative report on a politician's assets and conflict of interest? After all, that is their job. That is what they are supposed to do.

If he bought shares of Thai Farmer's Bank back when it was first listed and reinvested those shares, would he be as wealthy as he is today?

He could have also bought a lot of property back in the day when land was still cheap. He most likely would have received loans from his own bank.

Damn, that is a lot of calculating to do for a lazy blogger like myself. Anybody got any ideas?"

Then check out my first message again. I personally think that reporting about one prime minister having secret share accounts and obscure offshore company and using those facilities to evade taxes and possibly conduct share manipulation or inside trading is more important a task than probing whether a former banker getting friendly loans from his own bank. Which one is more important in your opinion, Fonzi?

My POINT is, Fonzi, that if people like you don't see the grave moral and constitutional breaches involving the concealed shares and the way they were used by a country leader, WHAT'S THE POINT OF DEMANDING THE MEDIA TO CHECK IF A LESS SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL RECEIVED FRIENDLY LOANS FROM HIS FORMER BANK?

Don't try to evade the issue. Answer me.


Fonzi said...


I have said it many times and I will say it again, all politicians should have their assets examined, for propriety and conflict of interest.

I'm not making an exception for Thaksin, you are.

Stevie, considering you are so high and mighty about morality, I would assume you would be concerned about the morality of all politicians, especially politicians who may have helped Thaksin, because Stevie, you know as well as I do, no man or woman can act alone.

During Thaksin's tenure, Pridiyathorn was the head of The Bank of Thailand, which is a well paid position, but one that wouldn't make him a billionaire.

So, let me ask you, shouldn't a man like Pridiyathorn be judged by the same morality you judge you Thaksin, or does your morality have a sliding scale according to one's status in life?

Anonymous said...

If what the person halfway down is correct then he likely inherited a lot of his money.

As for Thaksin, what pissed people off is that he was able to structure his dealings so he didn't pay tax. From what I read the transactions weren't illegal, they were just slimy. And what pissed people off is the guy is a billionaire- why does he need to evade paying tax when the masses have no option not to pay.

- Bond

Fonzi said...


I agree, Thaksin should pay his taxes if he was supposed to pay his taxes.

If he was just being a slime ball Thai politician and avoided paying his taxes legally, there really is nothing you can do about it.

The difference between Stevie and I is that Stevie thinks Thaksin allegedly not paying his taxes justifies a coup, and I think that is a stupid reason for a coup.

Under the last constitution, any public servant, bureaucrat or politician, could have brought charges against Thaksin up before the corruption commission for corruption, illegal business transfer and tax evasion, but nobody did, which is something Stevie never seems to talk about.

Stevie, why is that Chart Thai and the Democrats were so willing to hit the streets against Thaksin and boycott elections, but refused to use the constitution against Thaksin?

They could have used the recall, the Senate, the omsbudsman, the corruption commission, and the courts, but didn't.

Can you explain that to me?

hobby said...

Sounds like the Democrats should hire Fonzi as their adviser - we could have avoided a lot of trouble.

All corrupt politicians, judges, police, military, bureaucrats & businessmen should be purged - Thaksin is just the high profile person I like to focus on (especially when I see him being defended).
Two wrongs don't make a right, and it is morally and intellectually weak to say Thaksin wasn't the only one so why should he be punished.