[JURIST] Thailand's Assets Examination Committee (AEC) ordered the assets of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and his wife frozen on Monday, saying the $1.6 billion dollars should not be touched until a court determines if the money was legally obtained. Thaksin, who made his fortune after founding what is now the Shin Corporation [corporate website; Wikipedia backgrounder] in 1983, is estimated to be worth in excess of $2 billion, but much of that money is in accounts belonging to members of his extended family. Many of the funds now frozen were obtained following last year's $1.9 billion sale of the company. The AEC also froze all accounts held by Thaksin in Bangkok. The AEC has been investigating Thaksin and his family for allegations of corruption [JURIST report] and tax evasion.
The Royal Thai Army [official website] seized power from Thaksin in a bloodless military coup [JURIST report] in September while Thaksin was out of the country. The new government has struggled to find evidence [JURIST report] of Thaksin's alleged corruption prior to the coup, but the AEC recommended charges which were ultimately brought [JURIST reports] against Thaksin's wife and other members of his extended family for failure to pay taxes on stock sales. Thaksin himself remains in exile. AP has more.