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Thailand ex-PM returning in May to face corruption charges

[JURIST] Pojamarn Shinawatra, wife of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], told the Thailand Supreme Court Tuesday that Thaksin will return to Thailand in May to battle corruption charges laid against him after he was ousted in a military coup [JURIST report] in September 2006. Pojamarn herself faces charges of conflict of interest and malfeasance for a 2003 purchase of land from the government-directed Financial Institutions Development Fund [official website] worth three times more than the $26 million she paid for it. She pleaded not guilty to the charges, and requested 90 days to prepare for the hearing.

A Thai court issued an arrest warrant for Thaksin and his wife in August and a second warrant in September [JURIST reports]. Thaksin and Pojamarn have been accused of abuse of power for personal gain [JURIST report], conflict of interest violations, and dereliction of duty for personal gain in charges stemming from the land purchase. Both have previously refused to return to Thailand to face charges, saying they did not expect to receive a fair trial [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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