Thaksin, “the Berlusconi of Asia”

Jeff Bezos, meet your fellow media plutocrats – foreignpolicy.com, August 12, 2013
Among the media barons who have successfully made the transition from industry to politics, only Thaksin Shinawatra comes close to the success — and infamy — Berlusconi has garnered. Through a canny — and, some say, corrupt — use of government concessions, Shinawatra built a media empire from scratch that at its height (it’s now owned by a Singaporean holding company, though the family is still a powerhouse) included a majority stake in the country’s only private television network, a significant chunk of its largest mobile phone operator, a 40-percent stake in a major Internet provider, and a 41-percent stake in a satellite communications firm. But his good fortune was not to last. Elected prime minister in 2001, he was thrown out in a coup in 2006 amid charges of corruption and an anti-democratic governing style. Tellingly, his critics in the intelligentsia liked to call him the “Berlusconi of Asia.”

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