Tax bill of half a billion dollars for former Thai premier Thaksin

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Thailand on Tuesday issued a tax summons worth 17.6 billion baht (511 million dollars) to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra over a past business deal, the revenue department told reporters.

Officials put the summons up on the front door of Thaksin’s house in Bangkok, after weeks of pressure to find legal authority to tax the former premier before the statute of limitations expires at the end of March.

Thaksin, who was ousted in a 2006 coup and is currently in self-imposed exile partly to evade corruption charges at home, sold his telecommunications firm Shin Corp to Singapore’s Temasek Holdings in a 1.8-billion-dollar deal 11 years ago.

The sale sparked a controversy in Thailand that triggered mass street demonstrations against his administration.

A court ruling in 2010 seized assets worth 46 billion baht (1.3 billion dollars) for concealing his share ownership in relation to the controversial business deal.

“If he is here, then the summons can be served to him directly, but he is not here,” said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha at a press briefing.

“This is a legal matter, which has nothing to do with reconciliation,” Prayut added, referring to the junta-led ongoing effort to achieve national reconciliation across a variety of political parties.

Thaksin’s legal advisor Noppadol Pattama on Tuesday vowed to appeal the tax order within 30 days and planned to sue revenue officials for misconduct.

Thailand has remained under military rule since a May 2014 coup.

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