Man City will be viable if Shinawatra returns to politics

Thaksin Shinawatra returned to Thailand today and was taken into custody, released on bail, and will stand trial before the country’s Supreme Court on March 8th on corruption charges which include tax evasion and nepotism. He returned because the country’s political environment changed in his favour.
Some immediate questions. If Thaksin is found guilty, does this mean that Man City will lose out on the some £800m frozen by the military junta? Even if his assets are released, would it benefit the club in time?
An encouraging sign is the agency responsible for freezing his millions is coming under increased scrutiny and it appears that the present government will close it down. That could lead to his assets being released.
Precious money that could keep a club afloat. Thaksin has been a low profile but unmistakable presence at Eastlands since he took up ownership; instrumental in hiring Sven Goran Erickson and getting the players that make a difference. City’s chances of achieving an UEFA spot have never been better. In February they beat rivals Man Utd twice for the first time since 1968.
I think the answer becomes more clearcut if he decides to stay on and re-enter politics. He has denied an interest but he and his party, the PPP represent the interests of the millions of working class Thais, in opposition to the military junta and conservative forces which have been in a battle for ascendancy since Shinawatra came to power in 2001. They took advantage of his absence at a UN General Assembly meeting in 2006 to stage a coup.
The PPP came back as the majority partner in the coalition government last December but their fortunes could evaporate because of increasing disarray. The Prime Minister, Samak Sundaravej faces charges for a cover up in the assault of pro-democracy activists in 1976 that led to a number of deaths. Another leader faces charges of electoral fraud which has been upheld by the Election Commission and the election result could hinge on a Supreme Court verdict.
Most importantly, the populist agenda that Thaksin built around his party appears to have come unglued since his absence. His re-entry on the ground should rally his party under his leadership and keep the public pressure focused on dismantling the roadblocks that the military junta installed.
His presence is important because the media which has never been kind to him on his human rights violations will try and sway public opinion currently siding with him. There are a number of court cases including the Supreme Court’s corruption and conflict of interest charges against a land deal involving him and his wife. The Attorney General’s office has filed another charge of concealment of shares in a real estate holding company. Most previous charges filed by the military junta have proven unfounded.
Thaksin’s millions of supporters and his acolytes in the present government are asking him to take up the political reins once more. His comeback will put pressure on the Supreme Court to acquit him, since in the court of public opinion, he has already been exonerated. If successful, it should put the nail in the agency’s coffin. The money could be released quickly enough to reassure anxious Man City fans. Their owner will be now free to come and go as he pleases. Which is more than I can say about Tom Hicks who probably requires a security detail to come to Anfield.

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