Thaksin Shinawatra’s first trial is finally starting but not without drama and events outside of the courtroom. Dealing with Thaksin has never been easy as Thaksin had managed to infiltrate every part of government and has effectively stalled and otherwise derailed any attempt to bring him to trial. That is why some still can’t believe this is actually happening as they wait for the other shoe to drop.
It would seem it took a military coup to oust Thaksin from power coupled with a new constitution endorsed by a significant majority of the Thai people to get it this far. This trial is all about Thaksin and his wife Potjaman and her purchase of 33 rai of land in the Ratchadapisek area from the Financial Institutions Development Fund (FIDF) under the Bank of Thailand. Thaksin was accused of abusing his position as Prime Minister by helping his wife get a heavy discount for the land purchase.
There have been a series of delaying tactics, court challenges and events just to get it here. There is also expected to be theatrical drama directly outside the courthouse that has become a signature of a Shinawatra going to trial. You can easily expect weeping women with roses strategically placed for the media to see and hear trying to hand the roses to one or more of the Shinawatra defendants. To clarify that better, they are hired to be there and it is all for show directed at the lesser educated Thais who are the power base of Thaksin.
However leading up to the opening day there has been a series of dramatic events that all point to Thaksin as being behind them as he is the only beneficiary of the events. Outside of time consuming legal questions (delaying tactics) that would cause the courts to pause and clarify, in reverse chronological order they are;
Thaksin’s travel plans outside of Thailand denied. Thaksin had requested of the court to leave Thailand, but the nine-judge Criminal Tribunal for Political Office Holders reminded him about the close proximity between his trial date and the foreign trip’s schedule.
Thaksin is due to face his first graft trial Tuesday July 8 involving the Ratchadaphisek land case in which he is alleged to have abused his power while in office.
Quite possibly for the first time in a long time Thaksin must actually do as other people say. However knowing Thaksin and his arrogance, Kamnuan Chalopratham, Thaksin’s lawyer, said yesterday the former premier was considering filing an appeal with the court against the current ban on international travel since such an order has affected his overseas businesses. He seems to have completely forgotten he was hiding in the UK with plans to fight extradition. Thaksin is sure to play this up the best he can however running out of the country just hours before your trial will be a very hard sell.
News of death threats against Thaksin. This in a way is good news as it would seem to be the only shortcut to the end game of the Thaksin power struggle. This would be seen as the equal to Thaksin being in jail with all appeal options expired. Some expect that day will never come. Navy chief Admiral Sathirapan Keyanont on Tuesday played down a claim about a possible plot to assassinate former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, saying it was good for a laugh.
The police not investigating a complaint by the court. With the plaintiff being the court as a victim of a crime as to where the 2,000,000 baht of bribe money came from. The alleged damage here is to the reputation of the court. After 2 days the police simply dropped the case saying there was no crime. This is simply seen as Thaksin still having influence in the police. At the very least finding where the bribe money came from should be done, however according to the news that stopped too. It takes either a lot of courage or lack of brains to risk going up against the court who can very quickly toss you in jail for contempt of court. This strongly suggests the bribe money could be traced back to Thaksin if the investigation was done properly. Few people have stacks of money as big as Thaksin’s. If this is not investigated there is sure to be fallout directed at the police by the court. If this ultimately turns out to be traced back to Thaksin, this would be just another example of someone associated with Thaksin getting burned by dancing with the devil.
Thaksin denies involvement in Bribe. This was simply damage control as Thaksin clearly never expected this to happen. Although Thaksin denies involvement, he is the only person who will benefit from influencing the court in his own trial. Related story
2,000,000 of money was given to court officials by Thaksin’s lawyers. This was dubbed “Pastry Gate” as the money was delivered in a pastry box. This resulted in 3 of Thaksin lawyers being thrown in jail for 6 months for contempt of court. Although Thaksin denies involvement, he is the only person who will benefit from influencing the court. To a lawyer it would be just another day at work. Related story
As this is just the start, expect more orchestrated drama outside of the courtroom all for the benefit of Thailand’s lesser educated Thai’s who are Thaksin’s power base in Northeast Thailand. This will be an attempt to show Thaksin is being abused by the courts. Being lesser educated, they are very easy to deceive.