BANGKOK, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Thailand's anti-graft body said on Monday it had begun a probe into whether ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra bought English Premier League soccer club Manchester City with legitimate financing.The Asset Examination Committee (AEC), set up after Thaksin was ousted in a bloodless coup last year, will ask the central bank to provide details of his money outflows and the British government to help verify the takeover."We want to know if Thaksin really bought the club. If so, where did he get the money from and whether that money had been declared with the Counter Corruption Commission," as required by law, AEC chairman Nam Yimyam told reporters.Another AEC member, who declined to be identified, said the panel would ask the British Embassy in Bangkok to help find out whether the takeover was done by Thaksin himself or by nominees and how it was financed."If the probe shows he actually bought the club, we then will have to find out whether the money came from stock manipulation or legitimate businesses," the AEC member said.
So, after a quiet news day with only Didi's brush with the law and the usual transfer 'scoops' from Tribal Football to keep us interested, comes news that our owner is to face further investigations into his finances - specifically how he financed the purchase of the club.
I suppose it easy to suggest that it is yet another political manouevere from Shinawatra's enemies, perhaps concerned atthe effect his popularity may have on the impending elections, specifically when they havefailed to pin anything on him thus far.
What could be of interest for Blues in this though (assuming the investigation is actually completed) is if it shows that Shinawatra did NOT directly finance the takeover of the club. A bad situation for the government in Thailand no doubt, but would that open up a can of worms here in Manchester?
There is a body of thought I have read that believe the purchase was not as simple as Shinawatra buying the club outright with his own money, but through a series of loans that were very beneficial for Shinawatra and resulted in him getting an extremely good deal in the long term.
The elections are now around two months away in Thailand, and the piece in The Guardian does suggest there is concern from the government that Shinawatra's supporters are likely to fare well, so this could be yet another ply to destabilise pro-Shinawatra opinion in Thailand by proving it was tainted money (certainly from a Thai perspective) that purchased the club.
If they are proved otherwise (something they are unlikely to admit publicly I guess), it could open a line of questioning this time not from the Thai government, but from fans who I'm sure will want to know just how and on what terms Shinawatra actually acquired the club.