Thaksin denies involvement in lawyer's bribery case
BANGKOK, June 26 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's ousted Premier Thaksin Shinawatra denied involvement in an attempted bribery case in which three lawyers working on his corruption charge had been convicted for sending a cash-filled pastry box to court officials.
Thaksin's personal spokesman Pongthep Thepkanchana on Thursday read a statement on behalf of the ex-premier at a press conference, which said Thaksin feels sorry that his lawyers were found guilty of contempt of court and were each sentenced to six month jail term by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
The press conference took place Thursday afternoon at the 111 Foundation, set up by the 111 former executives of the now dissolved Thai Rak Thai Party founded by Thaksin.
The trio -- lawyer Pichit Chuenban, his assistants Suppasri Srisawasdi and Thana Tansiri represented Thaksin and his wife Pojaman in a case in which the ex-premier was charged of abusing power to help his wife purchase a Bangkok downtown land plot in a government audition in 2003.
In his statement, Thaksin insisted on his innocence in the case, vowing to fight the case under the justice system.
Earlier reports about the "Pastry Gate" incident, as branded by local media, gained much spotlight in the country, as it was revealed that a lawyer, then referred to as one who worked for some former politician, on June 10 walked into the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Political Office Holders, filed a writ and handed a pastry box containing 2 million baht (about 61,000 U.S. dollars) in cash to court officials.
The trio on the day concerned were present at the Court to hand legal documents about Thaksin's case, but Pichit had earlier denied his involvement.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday handed down the verdict, which convicted the three of violating the court's authority. The verdict could not be appealed.
Pichit and Suppasri (female) were arrested immediately, while the other convicted Thana was absent from Wednesday's trial and still at large by now, as the Court has issued an arrest warrant for him.
The Court has also sought criminal charges of attempted bribery against the three lawyers with the police on Thursday.
Opposition Democrat party spokesman Ong-art Klampaiboon has called on the government to assign the National Counter Corruption Commission to trace where the lawyers get the money from.
My Take: Thaksin had a history of concealing assets before he became PM by transfering his assets to his servants. Majority of court panel ruled out 9 to 8 it was unintentional. Was money involved then?