Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was already a billionaire with a net worth of more than Bt60 billion before beginning his career in public service, his legal adviser Noppadon Pattama said on Tuesday.
“Thaksin was already rich before entering politics,” he said, rebutting an allegation about ill-gotten gains raised by the Democrats.
Noppadon said the opposition Democrat Party had no justification for saying Thaksin had abused office to enrich himself.
As of October, 1994, before assuming office as the foreign minister, Thaksin had 69.5 billion shares worth Bt51 billion. If counting other assets, his net worth was some Bt60 billion.
At the time, there was no requirement for an office holder to file the asset statement. But Thaksin voluntarily declared his net worth to the Palang Dharma Party.
In 1997, the year in which the law on asset declaration came into effect, Thaksin had the same amount of equity stakes although the market value dropped to about Bt23.8 billion. This reflected the price fluctuation in the stock market and was not an attempt to conceal his assets as alleged by the Democrats.
Thaksin’s net worth changed in accordance with the stock price movement and had no connection to the office held.
Before Thaksin became prime minister in 2001, he was obliged to comply with the anti-graft law prescribing a cap on equity stakes for office holders.
He opted to transfer the shares to his three adult children and had no intent of using them as nominees in order to hold on to his shares.