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Updated: May 4, 2010 10:19 IST

Thaksin’s confiscated cash goes to Thai national debt repayments

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A young anti-government demonstrator looks out from atop a barricade on Sunday in Bangkok. Photo: AP.
A young anti-government demonstrator looks out from atop a barricade on Sunday in Bangkok. Photo: AP.

The Thai government has decided to use 42 billion baht (1.3 billion dollars) confiscated from fugitive politician Thaksin Shinawatra and his family to help repay the country’s public debt, media reports said on Tuesday.

The Comptroller Department decided to use Mr. Thaksin’s money for national debt repayments after 46 billion baht were transferred to state coffers from 32 bank accounts in six commercial banks previously holding the frozen cash, the Bangkok Post reported.

On February 26, Thailand’s Supreme Court for Political Office Holders found Mr. Thaksin guilty of concealing his wealth from public scrutiny during his two—term premiership from 2001 to 2006 and of abusing his power to benefit his family’s business empire.

The court ruled to confiscate 46.3 billion baht out of 76 billion baht the government had frozen in Thai bank accounts shortly after the September 2006 coup that toppled Mr. Thaksin.

Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij demanded the banks speed up the transfer of the funds to the state, although the Shinawatra clan have appealed the court’s ruling.

Mr. Thaksin, who has been living in self—exile since August 2008 to avoid a two—year jail sentence in Thailand for corruption, has been linked to the anti—government protests taking place in Bangkok since March.

The former telecommunications tycoon is believed to be one of the main financiers of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), better known as the red shirts, who have occupied Bangkok’s chief commercial district since April 3, calling on Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to dissolve parliament and hold new elections.

On Monday, Mr. Abhisit offered to hold an election on November 14, in a bid to end the protest which has already led to violent clashes that have claimed 27 lives and left more than 900 wounded.

The UDD leaders have yet to respond to the proposal.

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