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Thai PM Yingluck defends appointment of US blacklisted minister

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BANGKOK, 3 January 2012 (NNT) – The prime minister of Thailand has affirmed with the Lower House that the appointment of a new minister to PM’s office, whose name is on the US blacklist, is legitimate.

The queries on newly-appointed PM’s Office Minister Nalinee Thavisin have been raised again during the House of Representatives meeting on Thursday by Democrat Party MP Rachada Dhnadirek.

Ms. Rachada asked the premier whether she is aware of the blacklisting of Mrs. Nalinee.

Last month, the US Embassy in Bangkok issued a statement, confirming that Mrs. Nalinee’s name has been on the list of the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) since 2008, for her facilitation of a number of financial, real-estate and gems-related transactions on behalf of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace Mugabe and other Zimbabweans on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list.

With her name on the blacklist, American citizens or entities have been prohibited from doing business with Mrs. Nalinee, while her assets, if they went through a US jurisdiction, would be frozen.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra told the Lower House that she is confident the appointment of Mrs. Nalinee Thavisin as a minister to the PM’s Office is a legitimate decision.

The PM added that Mrs. Nalinee is qualified to hold the position, based on her educational credentials and work experience. Moreover, there has been no indication that her appointment will violate the Constitution.

However, PM Yingluck stated that if a proof can be produced to prove that Mrs. Nalinee’s appointment is against the law, she will be ready to review her decision.

Read more: NNT