Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra may have whisked some of his assets out of the country aboard two aircraft days before a military coup ousted him from power, airline officials said Sunday.
An official from Thai Airways International, who demanded anonymity because company policy did not allow him to speak to the press, said he wanted the new ruling military council to investigate the incidents.
Speculation has been rife in Thailand that Thaksin may have snuck money out of the country in the days leading up to the coup, but there has been no confirmation from the council.
Thaksin departed for Finland to begin a foreign tour on September 9, loading up his government-assigned aircraft with 58 large suitcases and trunks, the official of the national carrier said.
The prime minister’s aircraft, named Thai Koofah, was then inexplicably left parked in Finland for more than a week as Thaksin continued on his trip on other transportation.
A second aircraft carrying 56 suitcases — an Airbus 340-600 — was dispatched from Bangkok to meet up with the prime minister just days before the coup, the Thai Airways official said.
Another official in the airline industry, requesting anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity, confirmed the second flight, saying it left on September 17 — two days before the military toppled Thaksin in a bloodless coup.
It was unclear why Thaksin needed a second aircraft when his own plane was already assigned to fly him to Europe and the United States.
Speculation has surfaced about whether Thaksin knew of the coup in advance and moved some of his vast assets out of the country.