Pro-Thaksin demonstrators have reach Bangkok ahead of a rally today (Sunday). The government has deployed about 40,000 security personnel. The Internal Security Act has also been invoked, giving the military extra powers to impose curfews and restrict numbers at gatherings.The last major protests, in April last year, turned violent, with two deaths and dozens of people injured.
This protest comes after the Supreme Court ruled that former PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s family should be stripped of more than half a contested US$2.3 billion. The court said US$1.4 billion of the assets were gained illegally through conflict of interest when Mr Thaksin was prime minister. The funds were frozen after Mr Thaksin’s elected government was overthrown in a military coup in 2006.
He, who is living abroad, has denied any wrongdoing.
The Economist reported two issues ago: “The court’s verdict exposes Mr Thaksin and his family to a range of civil and criminal charges. Prosecutors may go after members of his cabinet and officials accused of helping Shin Corp. The government can also try to claw back lost revenue from Shin Corp, and particularly its lucrative mobile-phone unit, AIS.”
Readers will be aware that SingTel has a 21.4% stake in AIS. No wonder Shin’s executive chairman and acting president Somprasong Boonyachai said to BT two weeks ago (juz after the court’s verdict) that Temasek could divest its stake in Shin Corp if the right buyer comes along.
Maybe Temasek is prepared to cut loss? It lost abt US$4.6 billion on Merrill Lynch so a loss of around US$655 million (assuming that its interest in Shin is only 42%, and not the 79% economic interest that some analysts have calculated) would be “Peanuts” as Mrs SM might have put it, though she did not. I mean waz US$655 million when you dropped US$4.6 billion?
Time to call John Paulson? He is the hedgie who bot BoA (that bot ML) when Temasek was selling.
But on Friday that same Thai said Temasek had no plans to sell its stakes in Shin or in satellite unit Thaicom. Either he is the Thai version of Gopalan Nair or Temasek has changed its mind in two weeks
Anyway, the repercussions of the Shin deal go on and on https://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/better-at-destabilising-than-investing/
BTW a conspiracy theorist or one who practices the art of guessing what is going on behind the scenes: dietrologia in Italian, literally “behindologypoint”, has argued that the Shin purchase was a gd deal that went wrong because of the coup.
A Pakistani (you know how mad they can be) of my acquaintance has connected the dots between these three indisputable facts
1 When Thaksin was PM he had proposed spending 1.7 trillion baht between 2006 and 2010 (then US$47 billion) on mass transit systems, water pipelines, communications technology and other projects to boost the economy and improve the country’s infrastructure.
2 TLCs have the expertise to do these projects.
3 Thaksin has been found by the Thai courts to be venal.
My mad Paki wonders aloud if someone might have tot of the billions of $ that TLCs could from the Thai government win if Shin was bot at a more than fair price? Note that the price was so fair to shareholders that brokers recommend that they sell to the consortium
I told him S’pore Inc. does not bribe: if we did we would be more successful than Taiwanese and Hongkies in China. He pointed out that S’poreans learn from their mistakes.
Update 15 March 4.30 am
Tens of thousands of Thai opposition supporters have rallied in Bangkok and gave Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva until Monday afternoon to call fresh polls. They vowed to demonstrate across the capital if he refuses to do so. The government insists it will not stand down and has tightened security.