The last of a two-part series continues its alternative look at the former prime minister's assets-seizure case through the eyes of the people and morality
Daeng: What about Yingluck, ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra's sister, who only got Bt20 million worth of shares. Why are we making such a fuss about that?
Khao: This case, just like the one involving Bhanapot Damapong, is just not right. She is Thaksin's sister and a high-level executive who did not pay for the Bt20 million shares, claiming she had too many debts. The woman has a lot of money, and yet she paid for these shares through dividends. Initially, she got two lots of dividends - Bt9 million and Bt11 million. Then she got Bt13.5 million in the second round of dividends, and wrote out a cheque for the entire Bt13.5 million, before crossing it out and changing the amount to Bt11 million. The remaining Bt2.5 million was transferred to Thaksin's daughter Pinthongta's bank account, which she said was meant to pay for luxury watches. Now, who in their right mind would believe that a young woman would buy watches worth millions of baht for her aunt? The Bt2.5 million was transferred to Pinthongta's account the same day that Yingluck rewrote the cheque.
What about the shares parked in Win Mark? Pojaman claimed the company belongs to Middle East tycoon Muhammad al-Ansari, who she said had been Thaksin's friend for more than 10 years.
Thaksin has always tried to cover up this issue. On September 11, 2000, Prachachart Thurakij carried the headline: "Shock! Thaksin has transferred Bt900 million to money laundering island". The next day, Thaksin gave an interview saying, "the sale of shares in five or six real-estate companies to Win Mark is ordinary. There's nothing irregular. They were sold at the par price of Bt10 per share. Real-estate shares in the market are being traded at below par price, and if we can sell them at par price then we are really lucky."
At that time, Thaksin was about to become PM. If he had mentioned al-Ansari, wouldn't it have been easier?
Then, Yingluck wrote to the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 24, 2006 saying that though "the registration records of SC Assets carry the name Win Mark, it has no relation with the family". This clearly shows that al-Ansari was never a long-time friend, otherwise why would she have had to check the registration records of shareholders? Yingluck also insisted that the company had no ties with the Shinawatra family. By the way, the letter was used as evidence in the assets-seizure case.
Also, despite being in a crisis, the family still did not reveal the truth about this so-called friendship.
More importantly, the SEC found that of the money paid for the shares of five to six companies, most of it had come from Win Mark and some from the Shinawatra bank account, even though they claimed the cash was from Win Mark. DSI and SEC found proof that Win Mark and Ample Rich both belonged to Thaksin and Pojaman via the shell firms called Sinatra Trust and Blue Diamond.
Didn't they transfer Ample Rich to their children like they had said?
It was found that Ample Rich belonged to Thaksin until 2005, even though he became PM in 2001, and according to the company's certification, one of the key conditions was that any and all withdrawals had to be authorised by "Dr T Shinawatra only".
This meant that Thaksin was the sole authority until 2005, when he transferred the authority to two of his children. This goes against his claim that the shares of Ample Rich were transferred to Panthongtae on December 1, 2000, who in reality was not given any authority until 2005. So, how can we believe that he didn't use his son as a nominee to hold the shares?
Besides, on August 24, 2001, UBS submitted a report to the SEC saying that 10 million of Shin Corp shares plus 5.4 million shares in Ample Rich belonged to Win Mark. This is evidence that the shares belonged to the same owner under Securities Act Article 258.
They said that Report 246-2 was sent by UBS, which was the custodian bank and did not have the duty of submitting this report. Why was this report cited?
This is like saying that a recently sacked guard, who just happened to take the picture of a thief in action, does not have the responsibility of handing he picture as evidence.
Claiming that the bank had no authority to submit this report cannot change the facts surrounding this case. Five years after the submitting the initial report, UBS confirmed that this document had a few mistakes.
Okay so the assets were concealed. But then the share prices of other companies such as the PTT, Siam Cement and some big banks also rocketed. So why is Thaksin only the culprit?
Not all companies saw their share prices rise. In fact, many went bankrupt after the crisis, and the ones that survived did so for different reasons. Companies in the energy, petrochemical and cement sectors recovered because the price of cement and petrochemical rose. In the banking sector, some banks went under, but some recovered because they successfully increased their capital and also because the economy recovered.
However, the firms that recovered because Thaksin give them a helping hand while in power, they should be prosecuted.
He used state authority to benefit shares he concealed by reducing state contribution from the pre-paid mobile phone system, converting the telecom concession into excise tax, adjusting the roaming fees, approving the iPSTAR project, approving alterations for its concession contracts and allowing Thaicom Satellite 3 to rent a foreign transponder to benefit Shin Corp and Shin Satellite.
Furthermore, soft loans to Burma through Exim Bank were approved so the junta could buy telecom equipment from Shin Sat.
This sounds like robbing the country. Thanks for explaining.