The Assets Examination Committee, which ended its work on 30 June, has paved the way for the Supreme Court in Thailand to begin the trial of the Ratchadaphisek land deal, which may implicate former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
Out of the 14 cases the AEC has investigated, the land case is the first to have successfully been brought before the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Political Office Holders. The attorney general submitted it to the court on June 21 last year.
The court will start hearing the case on 1 July, and the AEC will be summoned to give testimony on July 29.
The case is focused on a plot of land on Ratchadapisek Road that Thaksin’s wife, Khunying Pojaman, bought not long after her husband came to power. The land was bought by the Financial Institutions Development Fund (FIDF) and later became the land bank of Thai Asset Management Corp during the Banharn government. It was put up for auction during the Chavalit and Chuan governments and then sold to Pojaman during the Thaksin administration in 2003.
Thaksin's written permission as a spouse, allowing Pojaman to enter into the land deal, is being used as evidence in the case. She bought the land for Bt772 million. Following pressure from the Assets Examination Committee, the Bank of Thailand (BOT) and the Financial Sector Restructuring Authority (FRA) have agreed to file a legal complaint over Pojaman’s purchase.
If Thaksin is found guilty in this case, he faces up to 10 years in prison.
Source: The Nation, 30 June 2008, Ratchadaphisek trial to start as AEC bows out