Sunday, August 5, 2012

Amsterdam and Thaksin: End of lobbying contract?

Here is an item from Legal Times blog on a recent move by Robert Amsterdam on his relationship with Thaksin Shinawatra. Amsterdam says he is still a supporter of the "red shirts" but isn't quite clear about his role as Thaksin's lobbyist in the future:

Firm Quits U.S. Lobbying for Former Thai Prime Minister
A small international law firm has ended its lobbying relationship with the former Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra.

Amsterdam & Partners on Monday submitted a lobbying termination report that says the firm's government advocacy work for Thaksin ended on June 30, two years after it began. The firm provided "counsel and guidance with respect to Mr. Thaksin's interest in Washington, DC and abroad," contacting the U.S. Justice, State and Treasury departments, according to congressional records. Amsterdam & Partners partner Andrew Durkovic in D.C. was the lobbyist on the account.

Robert Amsterdam, the founding partner of Amsterdam & Partners, said the firm has done "virtually nothing" in the United States for Thaksin, a billionaire who has lived in self-imposed exile after he was ousted during a military coup in 2006. The firm, which has offices in Washington and London, has focused most of its attention abroad on helping Thaksin and Thailand's "red shirt" protest movement, which supports the former prime minister. Amsterdam & Partners, which used to be known as Amsterdam & Peroff, in 2011 filed a petition to the International Criminal Court in The Hague urging prosecutors to investigate crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the 2010 Thai government crackdown against the red shirts.

"We do these filings out of an abundance of caution," Amsterdam said, adding that Thaksin remains a client of the firm.

It is unclear how much Thaksin has paid the firm. All of the quarterly lobbying reports Amsterdam & Partners submitted to Congress for Thaksin say the firm received less than $5,000, but they do not give an exact amount. Amsterdam declined to say how much Thaksin has given the firm.

Thaksin is scheduled to visit the United States in August to promote U.S. investment opportunities in Thailand, the Bangkok Post reported on Tuesday. The former prime minister, who was convicted in absentia on a conflict-of-interest charge brought in Thailand, secured a visa to travel to the United States, which generally won't let convicted felons enter the country.

Amsterdam said his firm didn't assist Thaksin in obtaining the visa and isn't involved with the trip.

Posted by Andrew Ramonas on July 31, 2012 at 03:36 PM in Lobbying

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