Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thailand's Supreme Court has issued another arrest warrant for Thaksin Shinawatra, the ousted premier, this time for cashing in on Burma's military junta while offering himself as a mediator with the repressive regime.

While Mr Thaksin, until recently owner of Manchester City F.C., offered Thailand as host country for talks with Burma, he was secretly cashing in on his relationship and offering his own government's money to clinch the deal, it is alleged.

This is the second warrant issued for the arrest of Mr Thaksin for corruption as the exiled Prime Minister continues his political career from his home in Weybridge, Surrey.

He is accused of instructing Thailand's Import-Export Bank to offer the Burmese junta a soft loan for the equivalent of ?65 million to enable the government to buy products from his communications company Shin Satellite, which was then totally owned by his family.
He also allegedly told the junta he could reduce the interest rate without consulting his Cabinet.

Mr Thaksin, who was ousted in a military coup in 2006, fled Thailand with his wife Pojama to evade a charge of corruption over a deal in which she was able to buy a 16 acre site in central Bangkok at a third of its price from a Thai government department.

Thailand is currently in a state of political deadlock. Mr Thaksin's successor Samak Sundaravej was forced last week to step down for hosting a television cookery programme while in office. He also faces charges of corruption and libel, and the first court date has been set for later this month.

Yesterday the majority Peoples Power Party (PPP) nominated Somchai Wongsawat, Mr Thaksin's brother-in-law, to lead the country - a move which has further angered protesters from the People's Alliance for Democracy, who seized Government House in Bangkok three weeks ago and who plan to step up their protest.

A spokesman for the PPP, which is widely seen as Mr Thaksin's nominated government while he is in exile, confirmed that he had been in touch by phone to make his personal recommendation as to who should be P.M.


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