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Thailand ex-PM returns to face corruption charges

[JURIST] Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] returned to Thailand Thursday from self-imposed exile to face corruption charges laid against him after he was ousted in a military coup [JURIST report] in September 2006. Thai authorities arrested Thaksin immediately upon his return and later released him on bail [Bangkok Post report]. Thai investigators formally asked state prosecutors earlier this month to bring new charges [JURIST report] against Thaksin and his wife Pojamarn Shinawatra for allegedly concealing assets. Pojamarn returned to Thailand from self-imposed exile [JURIST report] last month to face corruption and fraud charges.

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 a 2003 land purchase by Pojaman from the government-directed Financial Institutions Development Fund [official website]. Both have previously refused to return to Thailand to face charges because they do not expect to receive a fair trial [JURIST report]. While Thaksin was banned from politics for five years following 2006 coup, his opponents fear that his return to Thailand will allow him to influence politics with many Thaksin supporters sitting in Thailand's parliament. Thaksin has promised [Bangkok Post report] not to get involved in politics. BBC News has more. The Bangkok Post has local coverage.

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