"Thai court seizes $1.96b from Thaksin - Sat, Feb 27, 2010 AFP
BANGKOK - Thailand's top court Friday stripped Thaksin Shinawatra of more than half his fortune after ruling that the fugitive former premier had abused his power for personal gain.
The verdict was an apparent compromise aimed at avoiding violence by the tycoon's supporters, but it left many of them in tears and a pro-Thaksin protest movement said it would push ahead with mass rallies in March.
"This case is very political...The ruling will be a joke for the world" said Thaksin."
It is very difficult to say if Thaksin has really abused his power as the Premier to benefit his own company and related companies at the expense of, sometimes, national interest. e.g. state loan to Myanmar supposed with condition to award business to his own companies.
One of the clear examples of the 'apparent' or 'moral' integrity of not gaining personal favor was the sales of his telecommunication company, Shin Corp, to Temasek Holding of Singapore where it avoided, legitimately, paying millions of Thai taxes. Though the transaction was legally permissible, the thought of selling the crown jewel, and a strategic national asset if you like, of a Thailand company to a foreign investment company does not sit very well with those Thais who think about national interest. This coupled with the fact that the company will avoid paying millions of taxes to the Thai authority made it looked worse!
The other is his supposed intention to use Thai government's money to buy Manchester City Football Club though he finally bought it with his own money. The question then was: what's a government involving itself with a English Premier League Football Club? Does it not have better things to do?
Lessons for me are:
1. it is a Thai issue for the Thai people to resolve. From an outside observer's perspective, it is appropriate to say that national leader has to put the nation's interest at the fore front. Anything less is simple unacceptable;
2. when one is successful in one arena, it does not necessarily means that one will be successful in another front despite many transferable knowledge and skills between the two areas. Nation cannot be run just like a commercial enterprise. The premise of being a national leader must be: to create a better future for a greater number of people that need help regardless if they are your supporters or not. It is hard to detach personal interest at this stage but is totally necessary to achieve sustainable success!;
3. when you are a billionaire and you lost 40+% of your wealth, you are still a very wealthy person. If you accept the judiciary verdict, move on and look forward. If not, find it legally in whichever mean available to you. At the same time, you need to weigh if it is worthwhile to bring the nation to a sharp divide and the edge of a cliff where one mis-step will create a deep and lasting wound between people within the nation. Is it nation before self or self before nation? It is decision time!!
May this crisis blows over as we need Thailand to be in a stable state so that prosperity and peace can have a chance of taking root!
Sacrifice will be required if reconciliation is to stand any chance.
Good luck. And may the true leader step forward...