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Ousted Thai leader jumps bail

Tue., Aug. 12, 2008

BANGKOK, Thailand – Ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra returned to exile in London, jumping bail and saying Monday he could not expect a fair trial in his homeland on the corruption charges he faces.

Thai prosecutors said they were discussing the possibility of asking for Thaksin’s extradition – usually a lengthy and complicated process – and the country’s Supreme Court issued arrest warrants for Thaksin and his wife.

Thaksin and his wife, Pojaman, failed to return to Thailand after traveling to China for the Olympics opening ceremony.

He had come home to Thailand less than six months ago after an extended period of exile after the 2006 military coup, much of it spent at his London residence and traveling around Europe and Asia making business deals, most notably the purchase of the Britain’s Manchester City soccer club.

“I thought I would be able to prove my innocence and receive justice, which is why I returned to Thailand on Feb. 28. But the situation has deteriorated,” Thaksin said in a three-page handwritten statement that was read on state-run television and faxed to media outlets.

Thaksin, 59, faces a slew of court cases and investigations into alleged corruption and abuse of power during his five years in office. In his statement, he insisted he was innocent of all the accusations.


 

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