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Thaksin to face charges over Burma telecom deal

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August 2, 2007: The Assets Examination Committee yesterday authorised its subcommittee to indict ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra for alleged graft and abuse of power relating to the government-sanctioned lending to Burma in 2004.

"The AEC also ordered additional investigation to try and uncover any ill-gotten gains Thaksin might have amassed in connection with the Bt4-billion Exim Bank loans for Burma to conclude a satellite telecom deal," AEC spokesman Sak Korsaengruang said.

At Thaksin's intervention, the Export-Import Bank of Thailand was ordered to increase its credit line for Burma from Bt3 billion.

The loans were extended to finance the deal with Shin Satellite, which was then under the control of Thaksin's family.

Based on the correspondence between Thaksin and the Foreign Affairs Ministry, he initially wanted the bank to finance Bt5 billion for the deal but agreed for a reduction of Bt1 billion after strong opposition from then foreign minister Surakiart Sathirathai.

In a related development, the AEC activated the process to issue four arrest warrants - against Thaksin's wife Poj-aman, their son Panthongtae, her private secretary Kan-chanapa Honghern, and her sister-in-law Busaba Dama-pong. The four refused to comply with their summonses to testify about the 2006 sale of Shin Corp.

Meanwhile, the Depart-ment of Special Investigations (DSI) director-general, Sunai Manomai-udom, said yesterday former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and others would be summoned on August 17 to hear charges in relation to the SC Asset shareholders concealment case.

"It will be the last chance for the group to appear before they face arrest," he said.

The accused include Thak-sin's wife Pojaman, Thaksin's sister Yingluck, Busaba Dama-pong and Pensom Damapong.

Sunai said the DSI's report on the case was 90 per cent complete. It is confident that the court will order penalties for the accused, especially if they do not turn up to answer the charges.

"The DSI has analysed the information but Thaksin is unlikely to come as summoned. But we will give him another chance. Busaba and Pensom's lawyer said they would appear if postponement is denied. They might give us useful information so we don't have any reason to arrest them," he said.

Sunai said investigators would grant bail to those who report as summoned. But those who do not, and become liable to be arrested, will not get bail as they will have demonstrated contempt and willingness to evade the law.

Thaksin's legal adviser Noppadon Pattama said Thaksin would return to face trial only after the election.





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