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     Volume 6 Issue 26 | July 6, 2007 |

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Let the wheel of Karma Turn Full Circle

Sopon Onkgara

Despite ongoing investigations into corruption, abuse of power, widespread cronyism and other misdeeds during the Thaksin administration that are reported daily to the public, there remain some admirers and fans of the former premier who close their eyes to reality and refuse to recognise what is happening and how much damage has already been done to the country.

Not only that, those with blind faith in Thaksin continue to argue and say "Where is the proof? These are just accusations." They fail to recognise that if there was no shred of evidence of misdeeds, the Council for National Security and others, including the Surayud government, would not have lasted this long, no matter how strong the backing of the armed forces.

These blind admirers, motivated either by the loss of benefits or vested interests, continue to attack critics of Thaksin. It might be that their projects were interrupted or affected due to the sudden shortage of funds, suspensions or other reasons, or that they fear investigations that will show they too had some shady dealings with favour from the Thaksin regime.

Investors in real estate projects should be feeling pretty hurt, especially new entrants. The hope of getting rich quickly from the fake economic prosperity and bubbles created by Thaksin was dashed by the coup and Thaksin's flight from possible prosecution for criminal wrongdoing. His disappearance from the scene must have left some young real estate upstarts facing financial ruin or, at least, failure to gain the profits they expected. In fact, there are quite a few beginners in real estate, including a hopeful who is the apple of his father's eye, now in real danger of failure. That's why they continue to hope that Thaksin will come back and make them rich through shortcuts.

Despite the boasting and bravado, it is a sure bet that Thaksin will not have the nerve to set foot in Thailand ever again unless his clique of political cronies regain power by hook or by crook, or even by violent means such as a coup by his comrades, if they get the chance.

If the investigators intend to go after all Thaksin's assets, they should seek cooperation from anti-money laundering agencies worldwide to freeze them. British authorities, such as the Financial Service Authority and Money Laundering Reporting Officers, and laws such as the Proceeds of Crime Act of 2002, could derail Thaksin's plan to acquire Manchester City Football Club if Thai authorities pursue their cases with real vigour.

Thaksin and his British solicitors' hope of getting approval for funds already stashed abroad to be used to buy Manchester City might be just a pipe dream. There is strong doubt whether Thaksin actually ever wanted to buy the team because his true intention was to remain in the news, using the British media for free publicity.

If British politicians want to protect the pride and prestige of the Premier League football establishment, they should question hard about the source of money and whether it is proper for somebody with a tainted past, in disgrace and possibly guilty of criminal wrongdoing, to own a fairly well known football club.

Surely they would want to ensure that no one, whether local, a foreigner or even a would-be asylum-seeker, remains above the law or gets undue privileges. Let's hope that new Prime Minister Gordon Brown will burden himself with trivial and frivolous issues during the House question time and take up the future of Thaksin, who might seek asylum to escape criminal prosecution in Thailand.

Let's hope that Britain will not provide shelter to political criminals who have stolen billions of dollars from the Thai government, in the same way a British court seized US$48 million (Bt1.66 billion) from a former Zambian leader last April and punished his British solicitors for abetting criminals.

As for Thaksin's cronies who tried to organise paid rallies against the military establishment, their attempts have become futile because the ringleaders are trying to stash away the money intended to hire protesters. The ringleaders would rather save the money, knowing full well that the financial pipeline will dry up soon now that Thaksin and his family members might have to stay away from Thailand for good for fear of criminal prosecution.

Karma is catching up with Thaksin's cronies. That's why none of them wants to provide the money to pay for protesters, for fear that they too could be subjected to a freeze on their assets, quite a lot of which are ill-gotten gains for sure. What they will try to do is save what is left for the upcoming election.

The hope of Thaksin regaining power is gone. The CNS and other parties want to ensure that. His former Thai Rak Thai cronies will have to accept their fate, whatever that might eventually be. They should thank their lucky stars if some of them remain outside prison without any freeze on their assets.

Or maybe the wheel of karma has not yet run its full course.

This article was first published in Thailand's The Nation. Reprinted by permission.


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