Happy 67th Birthday Thaksin Shinawatra
Thaksin Shinawatra was born 26 July 1949. Net worth $1.65 Billion. #10 Thailand’s Richest list.
For decades, political power in Thailand had been dominated by the old establishment. But from 2001, when Thaksin strolled into the premiership, his overwhelming popularity with effective populist policies made him a champion of electoral politics. Ever since then the Thai political landscape has been transformed in a drastic manner. His political success was passed on to his younger sister Yingluck, a relatively unknown member of the family. Winning a landslide election in 2011 and became the first female PM in Thailand.
The former police officer founded the mobile phone operator AIS and the IT and telecommunications conglomerate Shin Corporation in 1987, that made him one of the richest people in Thailand.
He joined politics in 1994, founded the Thai Rak Thai Party (TRT) in 1998 and, after a landslide electoral victory, became prime minister in 2001.
Thaksin’s government launched programs to reduce poverty, expand infrastructure, promote small and medium-sized enterprises, and universal healthcare coverage.
Thaksin declared a “war on drugs” in which more than 2,500 people died.
He took a strong-arm approach against the separatist insurgency in the Muslim southern provinces.
He was overthrown in a military coup on 19 September 2006. His party was outlawed and he was barred from political activity. Thaksin has since lived in self-imposed exile in Dubai.
Thaksin’s wife – Potjaman
Potjaman was the youngest child and only daughter of Potjanee Na Pombejra and her husband Samoe Damapong, a police general who excelled in his work on crime suppression and investigation and became a Deputy Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police. Samoe Damapong came from a family of Lao origin; his paternal grandfather was an Isan Lao from Nong Khai while his maternal grandmother was a princess of the Na Champassak family. Potjaman and Thaksin married in July 1976, and they went on to have one son, Panthongtae, a businessman, and two daughters, Pinthongta and Paetongtarn. In the late 1970s and 1980s Potjaman worked with Thaksin to develop his various commercial ventures.
On January 23, 2006, the Shinawatra family sold their entire stake in Shin Corporation to Temasek Holdings. The Shinawatra and Damapong families netted about 73 billion baht tax-free from the sale, using a regulation that made individuals who sell shares on the stock exchange exempt from capital gains tax.
The Thailand Securities and Exchange Commission investigated the transaction and cleared the entire family from wrongdoing, except for Potjaman’s son, Panthongtae. The SEC did find that Panthongtae committed minor infractions with regard to information disclosure and public tender offers in transactions between 2000 and 2002. He was fined 6 million THB. Allegations of insider trading by Potjaman, other Shinawatra family members, Shin Corporation Corp executives, and major shareholders were also investigated. No irregularities were found. On 21 September 2006, the Revenue Department sent a letter to the Shinawatras advising the Shinawatra family not to pay taxes on the transaction. Also in 2006, Revenue Department Director-General Sirot Sawadpanish testified to the military junta’s Assets Examination Committee that the transaction was not taxable. The junta investigated Sirot and 6 other senior Ministry of Finance officials for their role in dispensing legal advice regarding the transaction. The AEC demanded that Potjaman testify to the Committee, and threatened to jail her if she did not.
Thaksin was found guilty of abusing his power to help his wife purchasing the Ratchadaphisek land at a knock-down price, being sentenced to two years in imprisonment. As Thaksin was dwelling aboard, the arrest warrant was issued to bring him back to the domestic punishment.
Thaksin Shinawatra’s wife Potjaman Shinawatra, was found guilty on July 31, 2008, and sentenced to 3 years imprisonment. She was released on 5 million baht bail.
On August 10, 2008, Thaksin and his wife Khunying Potjaman flew to London from Beijing, where he had been attending the 2008 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony. In doing so he violated the terms of his bail. Thaksin said that it was his wish to return to Thailand someday, but claimed it was not currently safe enough for him and his family. Thaksin announced his intention to seek political asylum in Britain. His 3 children had reportedly flown ahead to Britain. Meanwhile, Thailand’s Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant for both Thaksin and his wife for jumping bail.
Thaksin, 59, and Potjaman, 51, divorced after 32 years of marriage in Hong Kong, signing the papers at the Thai consulate. Thaksin flown to Dubai after the divorce. He chose Dubai because the United Arab Emirates has no extradition treaty with Thailand. The divorce is designed to protect the Shinawatras’ wealth. Most of the Shinawatras’ wealth is held by Potjaman. Thaksin declared his assets of around Bt500 million after leaving office, compared to Bt8 billion for Potjaman.
Yingluck and Thaksin trip to China in 2014
Following trips to Beijing and Sichuan panda zoo, former Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her older brother Thaksin Shinawatra visited their ancestral village in Meizhou, Guangdong province. Yingluck and Thaksin, are fourth generation ethnic Chinese Thais originating from a family of Hakkas in Taxia village, Fengshun county of Meizhou city.
Yingluck and Thaksin visit ancestral village in Meizhou, Guangdong
Thaksin Shinawatra doubled his money in just over a year by making a £20m profit when he sold Manchester City club in 2008 to Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi.
Thaksin was unable to fund the Manchester City Club further as £800m of his assets remained frozen in his native Thailand and criminal proceedings were continuing against him there. After Thaksin and his wife, Potjaman, skipped bail in Thailand.