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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Nation descends futher into the journalism gutter

The Nation Editorial


What is former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra up to now? And what is current prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva obsessed with? Thaksin is licking his wounds. He has been lying low and is conspicuously quiet. After a failed attempt to return to power on April 13, Thaksin has tried to plot a comeback by overthrowing the Abhisit government. Abhisit's obsession is how to hang on to his premiership as long as possible.


No facts to substantiate this. Where is this Thaksin plot to comeback into power?


Thaksin's immediate dilemma is how to unlock his sequestered money. More than six months ago, the UK authorities froze his funds transferred into the UK for the purpose of acquiring the Manchester City Football Club. Then Thaksin's ultimate goal was to obtain a licence to operate a casino business. The Manchester City Football Club deal would pave the way for the licence.


No facts to substantiate this.


But since Thaksin's money came from dubious sources and under other people's names, the UK authorities sealed off all the bank accounts until the real owner stepped forward.


No facts to substantiate this.


These dubious financial shenanigans, believed to amount to more than US$4 billion (Bt140 billion), led the UK to ban the visas of both Thaksin and his wife Pojaman.


No facts to substantiate this.


Apparently, Thaksin has accumulated more foreign assets than Thai assets. His foreign assets have not been properly declared. The main chunk of his domestic assets is the proceeds from the Bt76-billion sale of Shin Corp to Temasek Holdings of Singapore. This has also been frozen by Thai authorities, pending investigation into charges that he is unusually wealthy.


No facts to substantiate that he has more foreign assets than Thai assets. It is apparent, however, he hasn't declared his foreign assets.


Thaksin's untouchable assets in the UK have attracted very little attention. It is also difficult to get a grip on the story because these foreign assets are under the names of his nominees. Thaksin's foreign assets also include his margin loans. The UK authorities have given the beneficial owner(s) of the frozen $4 billion six months to step forward and reclaim the money. The deadline now has expired.


The Nation can't verify any of this nor does it want to. It would interfere with its policy of just making things up whenever it feels like it. The Nation conveniently doesn't identify its source in the UK, even anonymously.


But, by law, the UK banks cannot actually "take" the money without somebody, such as the Thai Attorney-General, coming up with a proceeds-of-crime application. The UK banks and also the UK government have been pretty upset that Thailand is not pursuing any claims with the urgency required.


No source of facts to substantiate this.


So Thaksin's best bet is to ensure that no formal and serious claim to the money by Thailand is made over the next year or so. The UK banks will then be unable to hold on to the money and Thaksin may get away with a fine.


No facts or source to substantiate this.


But another complication to Thaksin's attempt to reclaim the money is that he is technically not a Thai anymore. The Thai government cancelled his passport after he played a role in instigating political turmoil on Bangkok streets. Without a Thai passport, Thaksin would not be able to produce a Thai document to back the claim for his money from the UK banks.


The Nation is now the final arbiter of who is and who isn't a Thai without any basis in law. What does a Thai identity document have to do with claiming assets? No citation of law or policy.


We do not know what is going on with Thaksin's money overseas and why there has been no attempt from the Thai government, particularly the Foreign Ministry or the Attorney-General, to pursue the claim. Remember Thaksin has never claimed that he has any money abroad. But then where did he get the money to acquire the Manchester City Football Club, which he later sold, and make all kinds of investment in various countries?


Typically, The Nation is confused. Obviously, if Thaksin didn't declare his foreign assets while in office, that is a crime. That doesn't mean that the assets were taken illegally from the government while he was in power. What right does the Thai government have to take away another Thai person's private assets in a foreign country? None.


The Nation has really sunk to a new low with this editorial. Though why should anybody be surprised since The Nation proves time and time again it just makes things up as it sees fit.

1 comment:

antipadshist said...

I agree that Nation loves to make things up. this article is a perfect example of "Yellow journalism".


another thing which amazes me - the claim that he isn't Thai citizen anymore.

as I recall only his foreign Thai passport has been cancelled. foreign passport is merely a document which allows a citizen to travel abroad. so, cancelation of foreign passport I think doesn't automatically means cancellation of his citizenship (actually is such thing even possible at all - to cancel one's citizenship ?). I think that would require more than just cancelation of foreign passport - but also his Thai ID card and all other related documents.

so, this makes this allegation too absurd.

another point is : IF as article claims
"technically not a Thai anymore" - then WHY the hell Abhisit repeatedly calls on him in open media to return back to Thailand and face the "justice" ? I mean, if he is "not a Thai anymore" - then there could be no any question of him persecuted here, right ?

well, yeah, I guess he could be, as some foreigners who break Thai laws.

but anyway, if he is "not a Thai anymore" then what's the whole ongoing howling is all about ? ;) particularly it is Nation's favorite subject - Thaksin bashing.
don't they have any other things to talk about? say, Chuan's brother Raulek who was hiding what, 20 years in Taiwan after stealing some handsome amount of money and then returned back and lives here happily? or Suchinda who is mass murderer and yet somehow not only lives happy luxirious life and even has some lucrative position in some good business ? so many other examples... but surely Nation won't talk about those.

I mean, I do not defend Thaksin - let him be persecuted IF they can prove his crimes in Court (even as biased and corrupt Court as Thai). but Nation truly makes things up with glee to publish some sensationalistic pseudo news and then expects people to respect it.

pathetic.