How Thaksin's Money for Manchester City FC, Diamond Mines And Etc. Travelled First Class
( Last edit 2009-09-09 )
Ousted Thai Prime Minister may have shifted funds via Helsinki
Disputed claims that Thaksin Shinawatra was accompanied to Finland by massive number of suitcases
Originally from Helsingin Sanomat on September 25, 2006
The former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a bloodless military coup last week [September 19, 2006] is now suspected of having transferred a part of his considerable fortune to safety via Finland before the coup took place, according to reports by Associated Press on Sunday.
Shinawatra was in Helsinki attending the Asem summit for three days from September 9th, 2006.
Speculation has risen after reports that an anonymous source within Thai Airways had claimed the government plane that brought Thaksin Shinawatra to Helsinki also contained 58 large suitcase and trunks. A few days before the coup took place [on Sept. 19th 2006], a second plane left Bangkok carrying a further 56 cases, the source claimed to AP.
The contents of the bags are unknown, since apparently only Thaksin's aides were premitted to be present when the plane was loaded.
According to the AP report, Thaksin would have left Finland on Monday September 11th 2006 on another plane and the cases would have remained behind in Helsinki.
A call to Finavia, who administer the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, could not confirm the scheduling of the Thai government plane, but according to eye-witnesses it left Helsinki-Vantaa at the same time Thaksin was believed to be leaving Finland, so the chances are the Prime Minister was aboard.
The Thai Embassy in Helsinki also refused to comment to Helsingin Sanomat on Sunday as to whether the PM had been aboard the government plane when it took off.
As to the contents of the alleged suitcases and trunks, nobody in Finland has any idea, since the aircraft of the ASEM delegations were in effect enjoying diplomatic immunity while in Finland, and the Finnish Customs did not go over the Thai plane.
A recent posting on the Forbes.com site denies that Thaksin Shinawatra left Thailand with an "unusual" amount of baggage. "Both flights took off from the military airport and the amount of luggage was not unusual", a Royal Thai Air Force spokesman told Agence France-Presse.
In any event, since the coup, which has left Thaksin Shinawatra in exile, there has been much speculation that the new junta in Thailand will launch an inquiry into the deposed premier's financial dealings and allegations of corruption, and that his assets may be frozen as a result.
Thaksin was attending the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York at the time of the coup, and is now believed to be in Britain, where he owns a property.
The ousted premier was Thailand's richest man, and had made his fortune from the telecoms business. Much rancour was generated in Thailand over the sale by Thaksin of a share of the Shin Corp company to Singapore, which is alleged to have netted him and his family members around EUR 1.5 billion, on which no tax was paid. The widespread public discontent was believed to have been the trigger towards the eventual coup that brought him down.