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Former Thai PM to face new corruption charges: prosecutor

[JURIST] Thai Attorney General Phatchara Yutithamdamrong said Monday that he would seek a criminal trial against former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and his wife regarding a 2003 land purchase by Pojamarn Shinawatra from the government-directed Financial Institutions Development Fund [official website]. Yutithamdamrong also recommended the seizure of the land, valued at approximately $23.7 million USD. The announcement came as the Assets Examination Committee (AEC) ordered the additional seizure of $245.7 million USD of Thaksin's family assets, saying that the funds had been shifted from accounts seized last week [JURIST report] shortly before the seizure was ordered. The previous seizure amounted to approximately $1.6 billion USD, held by Thaksin and members of his family. Thaksin made his fortune after founding what is now the Shin Corporation [corporate website; Wikipedia backgrounder] in 1983, and is estimated to be worth in excess of $2 billion.

The AEC recommended that charges be brought [JURIST report] against Pojamarn and other members of Thaksin's family in February for tax evasion in the sale of Shin Corporation stock. Investigators have been having difficulty linking Thaksin to corruption [JURIST report], which was the stated reason for last year's bloodless coup [JURIST report]. Thaksin has complained that the charges against him amount to a persecution, and has called the AEC findings "libelous, unfair, and unethical." AP has more.

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