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Thaksin's brother-in-law told to pay 15 mln dollar tax

Written by: Staff
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BANGKOK, Nov 20 (Reuters) Thailand's military-appointed graft investigators ordered Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's brother-in-law today to pay almost 15 million dollars in tax on a shares he bought with money from his sister, officials said.

The investigators ordered the Revenue Department to tax Bannapot Damapong on 4.5 million shares he bought from a Shinawatra maid with money given to him by Thaksin's wife Potjaman in 1997, they said.

The investigators ruled the deal, decreed tax-free at the time as a gift on a special occasion, was a handout by Potjaman to her brother, who was then chairman of what is now Shin Corp, and had to be taxed, they said.

''The panel agreed with its working committee's resolution today to order the Revenue Department to tax Mr. Bannapot,'' Sak Korsaengruang, spokesman for the panel set up by the military which ousted Thaksin in a September 19 coup, told reporters.

The panel was also considering criminal charges against Bannapong and his Potjaman for tax evation, he said.

Bannapot would face the highest tax rate of 37 per cent of the value of the deal plus a fine, he said.

The tax and fine would amount to 546 million baht (.92 million), officials said.

The panel was set up to investigate allegations of corruption surrounding Thaksin and authorised to freeze assets of suspected corrupt politicians.

Bangkok's new 4 billion dollars airport, which Thaksin pushed to open on September 28, is a prime focus of investigators.

A formal opening of the airport by King Bhumibol Adulyadej scheduled for December has been pushed back six months to allow time to fix a variety of problems which have aggravated passengers in its first weeks of operations.

REUTERS AB HT1800

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