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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bangkok Post: ASC Harassing Thaksin's Lawyer

SC: Thaksin's aide "unusually rich"

(BangkokPost.com) -

Noppadon Pattama will soon find himself answering to a fact-finding committee under the Assets Scrutiny Committee (ASC) investigating on Thaksin Shinawatra's controversial sale of Shin Corp shares.

Latest findings show that Thaksin's trusted legal advisor has had an unusual amount of money transferred into his bank account.

According to Sak Korsangruang, a key ASC leader in the investigation, up to 100 million baht was found to have been transferred to an account owned by Mr Noppadon.

"We believe we will find all about the source of the money when he makes a statement on October 25," he said. The ASC affirmed it had no plans to call other legal advisors of Thaksin's to make a statement in the immediate future.


This is absolutely outrageous.

Why should the ASC be snooping around in the bank account of Thaksin's attorney?

Noppadon is not a government minister. He has nothing to do with the government. I don't understand why a private attorney defending a politician, in this case Thaksin, comes under the ASC's jurisdiction. Isn't Thaksin's attorney entitled to his fees or should he be working for free?

I hope Noppadon tells the ASC to go to hell. Thailand is seriously turning into a Big Brother state, where even defense attorneys are not entitled to basic privacy. Even worse, the media is announcing to the world how much he has in his bank accounts without his consent.

10 comments:

Red and White said...

I wonder if you would have felt differently if you had been involved when the ICAC cleaned up Triad related corruption in Hong Kong.

The government gave the independent group the power to investigate those who are unusually rich and the ICAC greatly reduced the amount of police and political corruption.

If you and those who feel the same about this as you - such as BP - had been involved in such a campaign, I guess every crook would be walking free. Heaven forbid they should have their bank account scrutinised just because they had suspicious transactions. What a breach of human rights!

Fonzi said...

R and W-

What does Hong Kong have to do with Thailand?

Hong Kong is not a democracy and doesn't have a constitution.

I also find it fascinating that while you come from a country that has given the world English Common Law, you don't believe that defendants in criminal proceedings have the right to unencumbered attorneys and the right to defend themselves.

But this isn't surprising, since you supported an illegal coup to oust a politician you didn't personally like.

Let me ask you something: Do you really believe that defense attorneys, who have not been accused of any crimes by the way, should be harassed by the state when defending politicians?

What is state's cause in going after Noppadon's assets?

You might answer: He is Thaksin's lawyer, Thaksin is evil, ergo he is evil by association and should be stripped of his most basic rights.

sooksiam said...

Nobody has the right to scrutinise somebody else's personal bank account unless permission has been given by the judiciary because of a suspicion of criminal activity.

Fonzi said...

Sookie-

Right. So what did Noppadon do wrong other than be Thaksin's lawyer?

Nobody has accused him of being part of any criminal conspiracy and he is not under indictment for any crime.

fall said...

I will concede to Fonzi's reasoning on this one. ASC stand for Asset Scrutiny Committee, but it clearly over reach it jurisdiction in this case.

I am not familiar with Hong Kong ICAC, it seem well and good. But ASC is not ICAC. If it want to be like, then it should be set from the beginning with the same power and authority. But I guess it would not do to sound as "A committe appoint by the junta to investigate those who are unusally rich, but focus only on ex-TRT".

There are other political parties, politicians, and military men that should have represent a better investigating time (and taxpayer money) well-spent beside ex-TRT. Bias is to be expected from junta appointed committee, but this border on fanaticism.

hobby said...

IMO the ASC/ICAC/NCCC/Tax Revenue Office etc would be failing in their duty if they were not getting details of potentially suspicious transactions of all politicians, military, police & bureaucrats including former such office holders and their family & associates, including lawyers.

In the fight to stamp out corruption and tax evasion, I would go even further and make it mandatory for banks, real estate agents, brokers, lawyers, accountants etc to report all cash & foreign transactions above certain appropriate thresholds.

It may seem like an invasion of privacy, but if everything is legitimate and you have nothing to hide, then all it would take is a simple explanation to clear things up.

In the interests of less corruption & more transparency I would not have any objection to such investigations. I cringe every time I read about the 'unusually rich' in Thailand, and the clean up has to start ASAP.

Obviously I think the investigations should apply to all, and not be limited to political opponents. I also don't think the investigations should be leaked to the media until the person has been charged with an offense.

But that's all wishful thinking for Thailand, because after all, this is a country where someone like Samak appears to be a credible candidate for PM, so I don't hold out much hope of any improvement - just more of the same with different groups being in power at certain times dividing the spoils amongst themselves and squeezing their rivals.

matty said...

Thailand's "unusually rich" politicians are prominent -- Samak, Chavalit, Chalerm, Banharn, et al.

Actually an income tax audit on these people would be revealing and entertaining. But will the Revenue Department dare do a tax audit on the these powerful figures???

Red and White said...

Fonzi,
I would have thought that the

ICAC
example was obvious: an Asian state with corrupt businessmen and groups influencing the trail of justice. It was still under colonial rule when the ICAC was formed so it was under common law.

I support privacy and human rights for anyone, but I also believe that anyone who is genuinely accused or gives officials genuine suspicion of criminal activity loses the right to say "Oi! That's my bank account, stop looking at it".

I support the scrutiny of any official, be they a lawyer of Thaksin or my other in law.
By the way, our own data protection act also

provides
for detection of crime.

matty said...

It's just common sense Fonzi. Most of Thaksin's nearly-legal capers were most certainly lawyers-inspired, lawyers-counseled and lawyers-researched. And certain lawyers may actually over-reach themselves from just legal counseling to actively abetting, helping his client to 'hide his assets' or be his client's 'nominee'?

But the lawyer can always sue of course . . encroaching on his privacy and civil rights, which is his prerogative.

svl said...

What is all the fuss Fonzi? Suspecting Thaksin's lawyer for being unusually rich should not be odd at all. If we recall Thaksin's 'honest mistakes', Thaksin had made his cook and driver billionaires . . . so why NOT his lawyers?