The Thai Foreign Ministry , hearing rumours that Thaksin has been given Montenegro passport, then started making urgent inquiries to confirm the report. This was after having made frantic attempts to have the ex-PM extradited from various countries where he was reputed to have been seeking refuge, including, the United Arab Emirates and Nicaragua. Any issuance of a new passport will inevitably make any extradition attempts more complex.
However, a legal advisor to Thaksin, a Mr Noppadon Pattama, partially confirmed the fact for the Foreign Ministry saying ‘Leaders of a few countries have given Thaksin passports because they sympathize with his position and know the injustice he suffered,’ whilst significantly omitting to mention which countries in particular, although it is known that one of these was Nicaragua.
Thaksin, though supposedly being cash-strapped after reputedly bank-rolling the recent UDD riots and having most of his assets frozen by the government, is apparently making a bid to buy part of an island, Mr Noppadon confirmed.
The island in question is Sveti Nikola Island, aka Hawaii, (apparently by the local youth) off the Adriatic coast of Montenegro, a country in South-eastern Europe between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania. Sveti Nikola Island is actually located opposite the town of Budva.
The island is very small, as the picture illustrates, only being 2 km long, a little over 37,000 square metres in area, but possesses several sandy beaches of a total length of 840m and a few small beaches around the island. The island is a popular excursion site in the Budva area. Mr Noppadon says Thaksin sees the potential of the island, namely that it could be developed into a tourist destination.
The asking price for the part that Thaksin wants to buy is Bt992 million, but he is not the only one interested, apparently some Englishmen, Russians, Belgians and Arabs are also interested in purchasing part or all of the island. There is a public auction due to take place on May 23 at the Budva bank which holds the mortgage for the island. The present owner, Serbian businessman, Stanko Subotic, is currently under investigation by Serbian authorities for alleged cigarette smuggling.