Thaksin, Thaksin, Thaksin…
This was most probably the most boring week in Thailand news since the coup back in 2006. Everyone had Thaksin and the Supreme Courts verdict on their mind, and everyone wrote about it as well. As I suspected when I wrote last weeks news wrap up, the Courts only took a portion of Thaksins frozen assets, a little more than half, and all parties involved saw it as a win for their team. Thaksin, of course, is showing some protest to the verdict but only enough to help draw attention to himself and his cause…returning to Thailand.
Even if they would have taken all of Thaksin’s frozen assets it wouldn’t have come close to putting a dent in his actual worth. You can bet he has accounts all over the world in countries that have no problem hiding his assets for a small price. What was taken in Fridays verdict was only a fraction of Thaksin’s actual worth.
Now the real game begins for all involved. Thaksin has been biding his time through a court case where he was tried, convicted and sentenced to two years in jail, through a divorce from his long time wife , to limit her exposure, and now through the asset seizure that has been in the courts for over a year. What is the next step for Thaksin?
Now that these minor annoyances are out of his way you can bet Thaksin will be concentrating on the one thing that stands in his way of holding a political seat in Thailand again, the two year jail sentence handed down some time ago. Thaksin is smart, he has leveraged neighboring Cambodia to be closer to his beloved red shirts and by doing so he has reinvigorated the red shirt movement and made sure he has a base to operate from in case things don’t work through diplomatic channels concerning his return to Thailand.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you’ll not only see Thaksin return to Thailand but you will see him hold political office again as well. With all other matters settled that jail term is the only thing standing in Thaksin’s way, but not for long. There won’t be a coup attempt for the same reason there was no violence on Friday when the verdict was read, because Thaksin is smart and he knows that any violence will leave him with a stain he won’t be able to wash off.
No, Thaksin is smart and he has a lot of money at his disposal. Look for him to start making diplomatic inroads to the courts and prosecutors soon. It’s nothing for a politician of any country to make a sweetheart deal after they have been convicted. Not long ago the Mayor of my city was charged, tried, and convicted of embezzlement. Instead of appealing the case she made a deal where she would see no jail time, she would make restitution, and the kicker? She would receive her pension for the rest of her life. You can look for the same with Thaksin and sooner rather than later.
Within the next two years (give or take a day) you will bear witness to Thaksin’s triumphant return to Thailand. He will most probably do little to no actual jail time at all ( he may even appeal the case, and win), he will pay a hefty fine and he will most likely be barred from politics for a short period of time…at least until he can manipulate the right persons to pardon him.
Thaksin has played the culture of Thailand like a fine violin. He knows what the government fears and he is the puppet master in this show of saving face and heading off violence. Thaksin has proven again and again that the current sitting government in Thailand is toothless and weak when it comes to dealing with him and you can bet he will use this soft white underbelly to worm his way back into the political heart of the country.