Thailand's former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra (pictured), had more than half of his assets seized by the supreme court on Friday after nine justices agreed he had deliberately hidden his wealth and concealed his shareholdings in the family business.
The court found that during Shinawatra's time as prime minister, between 2001 and 2006, his government pursued policies that aided his family's telecommunication business Shin Corp. These included increasing the level of ownership allowed by a foreign entity in a Thailand-based telecommunications company.
The ruling said the state would keep 46 billion baht (just under £1 billion) of Shinawatra's 76 billion baht (£1.5 billion) fortune. "To seize all the money would be unfair since some of it was made before Thaksin became prime minister," the court said.
Responding to the verdict via video link from Dubai, Shinawatra called the ruling "very political" and a "joke".
The Shinawatra family sold its telecommunications empire in January 2006 to Singapore-based Temasek Holdings, sparking further controversy as it did not pay capital gains tax on the £1.47 billion sale.
The controversy surrounding the sale of the family company, which was seen as asset of national importance, added to the unpopularity of Shinawatra who was eventually deposed as prime minister in a military coup in October 2006.
He now lives in exile in Dubai after being sentenced to a two years jail term in 2008 for a corrupt land deal.
Shin Corp was founded by Shinawatra in 1983 and has seen revenues drop since the sale of the business from 13.6 billion baht in January 2006 to 8.9 billion baht in January 2009. His wife Potjaman played a key role in expanding the company and was charged alongside Shinawatra for the 2008 land deal. Their son Panthongtae also worked in the family business and was charged 6 million baht for not fully disclosing share transactions.
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