Thailand high court issues arrest warrants after ex-PM Thaksin stays in UK with wife News
Thailand high court issues arrest warrants after ex-PM Thaksin stays in UK with wife

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Thailand issued arrest warrants [Bangkok Post report] on Monday for former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and his wife Pojamarn Shinawatra [JURIST news archive] after the two failed to return to Thailand from the UK on Sunday. Thaksin and Pojamarn had been released on bail, but recently sent a letter to the Thai government saying they would not be returning from the UK [Bangkok Post report] because they do not believe they could receive fair trials in the current judicial system. The Thai government is reportedly seeking their extradition [Bloomberg report] from the UK and will retain their nearly $400,000 in bail. Late last month, A Thai court convicted Pojmarn [JURIST report] of tax evasion for transferring $16.3 million worth of stock to her step-brother and secretary, and the government brought additional corruption charges [JURIST report] against Thaksin, alleging that he and 47 others were involved in misconduct related to the country's lottery system. AFP has more.

In July, the Thai Attorney General's Office filed corruption charges [JURIST report] against Thaksin for his role in a 2003 resolution that reduced fees paid by mobile phone companies to state telecommunications agencies. In April, Pojmanrn pleaded not guilty to charges [JURIST reports] of conflict of interest and malfeasance stemming from a 2003 agreement with the government-directed Financial Institutions Development Fund [official website] to purchase land said to be worth three times more than the $26 million she paid for it. Lawyers for Thaksin have been jailed [JURIST report] for attempting to bribe court officials in one of Thaksin's cases, and current Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej [BBC profile] is facing possible impeachment proceedings [JURIST report] due in part to his party's close association with Thaksin. Thaksin and Pojamarn had been in self-imposed exile from Thailand after Thaksin was ousted in a military coup in 2006, but had returned to the country earlier this year [JURIST reports].