Shinawatras withdraw B1bn cash – Accounts siphoned ‘to avoid tax levy’

Shinawatras withdraw B1bn cash - Accounts siphoned 'to avoid tax levy' - Bangkok Post, March 29, 2010
Almost one billion baht has been withdrawn from several commercial bank accounts held by the Shinawatra family since the Feb 26 Supreme Court verdict on the assets seizure case, Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij says...

Also: Before Red Shirt rally, Thaksin children withdraw more that 10 billion baht in cash
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[2015 note: Like many Thai newspaper articles from just a few years ago, this article is no longer online. Below is the complete text of the original article.]

Shinawatra clan withdraw 1 billion baht in cash
Bangkok Post: 29 Mar 2010

Accounts siphoned 'to avoid tax levy'

Almost one billion baht has been withdrawn from several commercial bank accounts held by the Shinawatra family since the Feb 26 Supreme Court verdict on the assets seizure case, Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij says.

The family of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra began withdrawing their money in parcels of 10 million to 100 million baht a time after the court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions ordered the state to seize 46.37 billion baht in assets owned by the family, Mr Korn said on Sunday. The state had earlier frozen 76.6 billion baht in assets.

Between 800 million baht and one billion baht has been withdrawn from the share of assets which the court had decided could be returned to the Shinawatra family.

The Revenue Department intended to freeze this money as part of a retroactive tax levy. But it might have a problem getting its hands on the money now some has been withdrawn.

The department wants the son and eldest daughter of Thaksin to pay 12 billion baht in income tax and fines.

It wants to tax Panthongtae and Pinthongta Shinawatra on proceeds from the sale of shares in Shin Corp in 2006.

Although the withdrawn money had yet to be taken out of the country, Mr Korn said, he was worried the balance left would not be enough for future confiscations.

In the end, the Revenue Department might not be able to confiscate the remaining assets of Mr Panthongtae and Ms Pinthongta because these assets were now mostly shares, jointly held with third parties who were not involved in the alleged tax evasion case, Mr Korn said.

A certain number of shares held by the two had also been sold in what could be an attempt to avoid the possible retroactive tax charge, he said.

Following the Feb 26 verdict, the government encouraged state agencies such as the Revenue Department to file civil suits to demand the Shinawatras pay for damages done to the state in relation to the same criminal case, he said.

Those agencies were still assessing the amount of damages.

No cases had been filed to date, although Mr Korn fears it may be too late for them, too.

The court ruled that Thaksin and his former wife had concealed their declarable assets and that Thaksin abused his position as premier to enrich their Shin Corp business empire.

"I'm wondering if the withdrawals are an attempt to leave the least amount of money in the accounts to avoid a future confiscation," the minister said.

"The bank account owners have every right to withdraw their money, but will those banks be able to explain later why they did not try to withhold the money in question?"

The Revenue Department had notified the banks about the bank accounts of the Shinawatra family which it was considering confiscating, Mr Korn said.

The Finance Ministry had also sent a letter to notify Mr Panthongtae and Ms Pinthongta and the concerned banks that withdrawals from those accounts could be deemed a violation of the Criminal Code, Mr Korn said.
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