At this moment it’s not clear whether he’s being flown back to Thailand already, with local TV saying that he’ll be here in the evening, but by all accounts he’s lost his long extradition battle, even if he hangs on for a while.
When he fled Thailand over ten years ago his main line of defense was that Thailand is a third world lawless country unsafe for high profile white collar criminals like him. Back then it probably made sense, but not anymore.
In paper Nation the Canadian judge Mackenzie, who apparently ruled against the appeal last time, is quoted as saying that in all these years Rakesh hasn’t presented any evidence that he’d be facing maltreatment at the hands of Thai authorities, and that for the first eight years Rakesh was released on bail under “unusual” terms. These quotes do not appear in any articles on their website, however.
The Supreme Court denied the request for hearings yesterday, so the game is over, with Saxena himself quoted by Thanong:
“If Leave is not granted, the legal process technically comes to a close… then nobody can do anything about it.”
There are several implications from this extradition. After the coup he thought he’d be safe forever. Didn’t work. Apparently the velvet coup didn’t make the same impression on the judges there as on anti-coup activists here. Pro-Thaksin folks were giving Rakesh as an example that Thaksin will never be extradited after he fled. The extradition would surely send a warning to Thaksin.
I don’t think he ever wanted to follow Rakesh, who was under house arrest for years, so he’s hopping from one banana republic to another – Nicaragua, Fiji, Swaziland – wherever there’s a coup and some madman emerges as a dictatorial ruler, Thaksin will sure pay a visit and ask for shelter. With Rakesh extradited and Polanski being detained in Switzerland, Thaksin will be dead scared to go anywhere close to respectable Western countries.
Locally, there were people who got those Rakesh loans back in the 90s and who might get under unwanted spotlight, particulalry Newin and Banharn must have their heart skip a bit or two. Some Democrats are already sharpening their knives, though relying on people turning their backs on Newin or Banharn just because they are corrupt is a pipe dream. The bond between these two and their supporters won’t be destroyed because of some silly things like taking money from banks. It’s not a crime against the voters themselves, they won’t care. It would clip Newin’s dreams of expanding beyond lower Isan, however. His “buses from hell” project didn’t endear him to Bangkokians, and connection with Rakesh won’t help either.
I don’t think there will be any serious fallout – Dems would just use it as bargaining chip to keep Newin in line. They are not going to abandon him unless they are sure they could cobble up a ruling coalition on their own.
All in all it’s only Thaksin who is left outside while the rest of the gang find the ways to weather the storm together. Rakkiat being released on parole is another message that Thaksin should accept his fate just like everybody else.
The good news is that Thailand has apparently shed the image of a backwater banana republic, even with the coup and all.
Abhisit must be happy to put away the fears about his legitimacy, if he ever had any, too.