How did Thaksin Shinawatra get his one-year residency visa from the German immigration in Bonn when he turned up on Dec 29, last year, in Germany's former capital?
Well,according to various sources, including the German daily that broke the news -- Sueddeutsche Zeitung -- Thaksin was accompanied by four big-wigs, all German.
One was a well-known German lawyer. Another was Gerd Steffen, the retired commander of Bonn's police criminal investigation department. The other guy gave his name as Richard Nelson. The immigration official at the desk thought he had heard this man say that he was somehow connected to the BND -- Germany's foreign-intelligence agency.Then, there was also the fourth person -- a feelance troubleshooter named Werner Mauss.
The German paper said the discovery that a Bonn immigration office had issued Thaksin a permit triggered inter-agency suspicions in the German federal government. But it turned out that neither the Foreign Ministry nor the BND foreign-intelligence service had known about the permit.
A follow-up investigation found that the BND wasn't really involved with Thaksin. Some "misunderstanding" had taken place. Angry German diplomats who learned about that later quickly took action to have Thaksin's residence visa cancelled which took place on May 28.
Nobody knows where Thaksin is now.
Today, PM Abhisit Vejjajiva said Thaksin could have used another name to seek a new passport and visas.