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It's my money : Pojaman

Khunying Pojaman na Pombejra, former wife of ousted ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, insisted yesterday that she owned 693 million shares in Shin Corp, worth about Bt34 billion, before Thaksin took office in 2001.

"The fact, as testified during the Supreme Court's previous hearings, is that these shares were in my possession since Shin Corp was founded," she said.

"On September 1, 2000, I sold these shares to Panthongtae [her son] and Bhanapot [her stepbrother]. Before that date, I owned 693 million shares [at Bt1 par each].

"As a result, these assets were not related to the office of the prime minister under the National Anti-Corruption Commission law, because the accused [Thaksin] assumed public office on February 9, 2001," Pojaman said in her closing statement filed with the Supreme Court.

The public prosecutors also delivered their closing remarks in the landmark Bt76-billion asset seizure case, in which Thaksin has been charged with hiding his assets illegally and abusing his office to benefit his family's business empire.

The court was told that the former PM and his ex-wife had used nominees to hold assets on their behalf while Thaksin was in office. Thaksin was also accused of executing policies that benefited Shin Corp's subsidiaries - Advanced Info Service (AIS) and Shin Satellite. For example, the concession fee AIS paid to state-owned TOT was cut from 25 per cent to 20 per cent of revenue, which resulted in the state agency losing billions of baht.

Regarding Shin Satellite - now called Thaicom - the prosecutors said the state-owned Export-Import Bank of Thailand had been told to increase a special loan to Burma from Bt3 billion to Bt4 billion so the junta-ruled country could buy satellite services from the company while Thaksin was in office.

Previously, Thaksin also filed a closing statement with the court, in which he dismissed the charges of hiding assets and abusing public office as groundless.

In a separate closing statement filed yesterday, Pojaman also said charges that she had "parked" her 693 million shares in Shin Corp with her son and stepbrother were unfounded and a distortion of Supreme Court testimonies previously given by herself, Panthongtae and Bhanapot.

On Win Mark, one of the nominees allegedly used by Thaksin and his family to hide assets, Pojaman said the firm was solely owned by a person called Muhammad al-Ansari.

"Win Mark bought shares of Shinawatra family's real-estate firms in 2000 and bought Shin Corp shares in 2001 from UBS's Singapore branch, so the company is not owned by either the accused [Thaksin] or myself," Pojaman said. She also presented a document, certified by a court in Dubai, that identified Win Mark's owner.

Regarding Ample Rich, another nominee allegedly used by Thaksin to hide his assets, Pojaman said her family was not being treated fairly in this case because the evidence presented by ex-employee Kanjanapa Honghern was being used to wrongly support the charges.

"Kaewsan Attipo, a member of the [now defunct] Assets Examination Committee [AEC], earlier testified that the agency was not considering seizing the assets, but later found evidence [on Ample Rich and the authorising signature of T Shinawatra] that was provided by Kanjanapa. Without this piece of evidence, the AEC wouldn't dare pursue the assets-seizure case. Kaewsan's testimony suggests that the AEC is biased and is not treating this case fairly," Pojaman said.

"This is because the evidence was intended to show that the accused [Thaksin] had set up Ample Rich with that authorised signature to be used with UBS Bank.

"But it also shows that Thaksin did not have any rights in Ample Rich from December 1, 2000, after he sold the Ample Rich stake to Panthongtae for $1. As a result, the evidence as cited by Kaewsan in his testimony did not support charges in this case.

"In addition, Kaewsan started using what he calls the 'fat cow' theory, in which he uses his own analogy to justify the seizure of the Bt76-billion in assets, including those belonging to the undersigned and other members of the Shinawatra family.

"This runs counter to the National Anti-Corruption Commission law as well as the Constitution, so there is no legal basis to forfeit these assets as sought by the prosecutors," Pojaman added.


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