Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra dismissed and laughed at the claim by senior Democrat figures that he approached the party to join the government, his legal adviser Noppadon Pattama said yesterday.
Speaking at the headquarters of the ruling Pheu Thai Party, the lawyer said he talked to Thaksin about the claim by former Democrat secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban. “He laughed and said it was untrue and impossible,” Noppadon said.
He questioned Suthep’s credibility, saying he had spread some rumour that was later found to be untrue. He also called on Suthep to name the two women and one man who he claimed had approached him on behalf of the fugitive ex-PM.
Thaksin is believed to be pulling the strings behind the ruling party and government headed by his sister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Other Pheu Thai politicians also came out yesterday to dismiss the claim by Suthep and Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva that their party was offered a role in the Pheu Thai-led government in exchange for the opposition party stopping its campaign against the controversial charter-change and reconciliation bills.
Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit challenged Suthep and Abhisit to swear a vow of truth at the sacred Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) in order to prove their claim.
“I insist that the allegation is untrue. It’s impossible in this life. The two parties have totally difference ideologies,” the spokesman said.
But Democrat spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut said later the unusual eagerness of “Thaksin’s lackeys” in rejecting Suthep’s claim showed the matter had the potential to rock Pheu Thai and the red shirt movement.
“Some of those who made the denial, in fact, came to negotiate with the party [Democrat] and make offers in exchange for what Thaksin wants,” Chavanond said.
“I believe that the red-shirt leaders were aware of this [the offer] but they did not think that Suthep would expose it,” the spokesman said.
Chavanond said Thaksin had tried every means he could to achieve his goal of not having to serve his jail term and get his seized assets returned. Thaksin fled overseas in late 2008 prior to the Supreme Court imposing a two-year term for a land deal found to violate corruption laws.
Meanwhile, Thanpuying Viriya Chavakul, a board member of the Sai Jai Thai Foundation, who is close to Thaksin, denied yesterday that she was one of “two women from high society” Suthep said approached him.
Viriya said although she had visited Thaksin several times in Dubai, where the ex-leader has lived in self-exile to avoid going to prison at home, she had never approached the Democrat Party.
She said it was possible Suthep made up the claim in a bid to destroy Thaksin. She also called on Suthep to name the people involved.
However, Viriya added that it was also likely some people had tried to negotiate with the Democrats without Thaksin’s consent. “Thaksin is honest and there could be some people who are insincere and want to dupe him for their advantage,” she said.