The Thai authorities have frozen assets belonging to Thaksin Shinawatra. The committee which has been investigating claims of corruption has ordered accounts worth about £830m to be frozen.
It would appear from this report here that this action may have an impact on the proposed takeover of Manchester City. Thaksin's people were supposed to be performing due diligence on the proposed takeover but now Man City are asking questions about the impact of his assets in Thailand being frozen.
Now the military government have stated that Thaksin Shinawatra is free to return to Thailand in order to pursue a legal challenge against the freezing of his assets. Indeed the current Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont has said that he would personally guarantee Thaksin Shinawatra's safety if he did return to Thailand. Apparently he has been given sixty days in which to return and make a legal challenge for the return of his assets
This is an interesting development. He has been banned from all political activity for five years and his political party Thai Rak Thai has been dissolved. Until now the line taken by the military government is that they do not want him to return until after elections (originally scheduled for October) which are supposedly going to take place in December.
Now the government appears to be backing Thaksin Shinawatra into a corner – effectively forcing him to return to reclaim his assets. There are already demonstrations against the military government in general and the dissolution of Thai Rak Thai in particular. Thaksin’s presence in the country would seem to be likely to add to such demonstrations and increase the potential for serious civil disorder.
Being cynical one might think that the military government would have encouraged him to withdraw his assets from Thailand and then claimed this as evidence of “guilt”. Maybe they attempted to do this and he refused to be drawn into acting in this way.
Either way one has to conclude that the military government is deliberately attempting to bring matters to a head. Sadly I suspect that this means that the government feels that it now has sufficient control over the military units to ensure that it can crack down hard on demonstrations if it feels the need to do so!