Dan Rivers & Thaksin 1
DR: Dan Rivers
TS: Thaksin Shinawatra
DR: I'm Dan Rivers and you're watching Talk Asia, this week we're talking to former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The army justified seizing power in Thailand last September by accusing the government of being endemically corrupt.
They said prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra had to be deposed for the good of the country - many expected a mass of evidence against Thaksin to be presented quickly. But so far, there's been none.
Actually baseless allegations, its just a political tools. And I cooperate very well with all relevant agencies, but now they still cannot find any evidence against me!
Speaking exclusively to CNN, Thaksin is now hitting back at the accusations....
Welcome to Talk Asia.
It's been a tumultuous twelve months for you, of course the elections in April then the coup in September that resulted in you being deposed, and then of course most recently those bombs on New Years Eve.
And I'd like to start with those first of all, there are lots of accusations flying around Thailand that you or your allies are somewhere involved in that. For the record now, this is the first time you've spoken since the coup, have you been involved with any of those plots.
TS: Its baseless allegation. No one believes so, because everyone knows that who am I. I come from election, I come from the people, I owe gratitude to our people, I do everything for the good of the country and the people. I don't do something that's stupid.
DR: So you had no involvement?
TS: Not involvement at all. But I would like to express my deepest sympathy for those who lost their loved ones and also all those who are injured. The individuals who involved must be brought to justice.
DR: And who do you think was involved?
TS: Well there are different theories. Some theories they might link the situation to some of the violence in the southern part of Thailand. Some theory may link with those who would like to create a situation where they can, they want to believe that the situation is not normal yet. But in any case, they should be condemned with the strong words.
DR: This is the first time you have spoken since the coup of September the 19th. First of all you were in the United States in New York at the UN when this happened, how did you find out what was going on?
TS: Well I find out just about four, five hours before its happened. But I trying to get into the television station but it's very difficult at that time I cannot get into it until I can get into Channel 9 briefly, but you know which I, its a rumors at the time but I don't believe that this can happen again in the 21st century.
DR: So it was a surprise when it happened?
TS: It's very surprise, but anyway you know, seventy years in Thailand seventeen coups happened, its very unfortunate but its an event that happened here in Thailand.
DR: And what did you say when you found out that you were affectively being ousted?
TS: Well you know I'm a sportsmanship. I, I, I, you know, if it's finished its finished. I understand, I respect, I play by the rules. If it's endorsed, approved then I know that I have to spend my life as a private citizen. So let somebody else do that job and I just would like to give them the moral support.
TS: Running a country is very difficult. Even I don't like the technique, I don't like the way they do it but as a country I would like Thailand to be to be restored with confidence and moving forward so I just would like to give them the moral support to do the best for our country.
DR: We're talking to you in Singapore and the deal with the Singaporeans in which you sold Shin Co, your telecommunications company to Temasek, the Singaporeans, was incredibly controversial, it was what sparked these huge protests against you. In hindsight was that a mistake?
TS: Well you know I traveled to here just to play golf. And meeting some old friends. That's it I don't have any politically motivated purpose and you know like I said I have no political ambition anymore. I want to live my life peacefully, I want to go back to my homeland, I want to go back to my family, that's all I need and you know all the allegations is really you know is a political tools to allege me and to be an excuse for the coup.
DR: Do you think though that you should have paid tax?
TS: Actually you know there are two cases related on taxes. In selling equity through the stock exchange, it's tax exempt by law. If you want to pay tax you cannot pay because it's exempt by law. Anyone that sell equities, that lists in the stock exchange through the stock exchange, there is no tax involved.
DR: But isn't it a question of image and the image is that you are a multimillionaire and you made 1.9 billion dollars through this sale and didn't pay a cent of tax?
TS: Yes but no one, the transaction in the stock exchange has a lot more than 1.9 billion US dollars but no tax involved because it's exempted by law. It's not because of you are a Prime Minister or not Prime Minister you have to pay tax or not pay tax. The law said that you don't have, its no tax involved because the law say that.
DR: But can you understand that there is a perception problem?
TS: Well you know that's the allegation or the you know, sometimes politicians they allege each other, they just want to tarnish your image regardless. But the fact is that you have to go by rule of law. If the law said yes you have to pay tax you got to pay regardless. But when the law said that it's not, no tax involved because that's the incentive that they want the company to list in the stock exchange because the company that list in the stock exchange they must pay tax because they have to declare profit.
DR: And would you go back to Thailand to testify?
TS: If I have to go to testify, I go. But now the reason I'm not going back yet because I want the unity in the country. I want the administration to do the reconciliation. I want everyone to unite, to move the country forward together. Not just like this. Having allegations among Thai people and then you know the conflict is not good for the country. We have to bring back confidence.
DR: So much more to ask you and there will be more from Thaksin Shinawatra, after the break, thank you.
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