08 March 2018
| Alan Burkitt-Gray
The founder of Thai telecoms operator AIS did not turn up at the Supreme Court in Bangkok this week for a resumed hearing on corruption charges.
Thaksin Shinawatra, who was prime
minister of Thailand for 2001 until overthrown in a military
coup in 2006, was alleged to have changed the regulations on
telecom concession fees in favour of companies he owned while
he ran the government.
Thaksin fled the country in August 2008, after the case had
started, by getting a visa to visit the Beijing Olympics.
According to one report, he is believed to be travelling on as
many as six passports and was thought to be living in Dubai.
AIS is now largely owned by the Singapore government investment
arm, Temasek, and by Singtel.
Nearly a decade after Thaksin fled Thailand, the Supreme Court
decided to reopen the case. According to reports from Bangkok,
the court considered his no-show as a denial of the charges of
malfeasance, dereliction of duty and violating the
anti-corruption law. Thaksin failed to respond and did not
nominate a lawyer.
This week’s hearing was adjourned, and the court
set 10 July 2018 to resume – a decade less a day since
he first went on trial.