Official: Thaksin will face arrest –



BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — Deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will be arrested if he returns home from self-imposed exile as planned, even if his victorious allies form a government following last weekend’s general election, officials said Thursday.


Thaksin tells a news conference in Hong Kong on Tuesday that he plans to return to Thailand.


Thaksin and members of his family face an array of corruption-related charges from the former leader’s six years in office. He was overthrown in a bloodless, military coup last year.

“The court and police had already issued arrest warrants on him so once he arrives back to Thailand the authorities concerned are duty-bound by law to arrest him,” Samphan Sarathana, a senior official in the Office of the Attorney General told The Associated Press.

“The case is gone too far for a reversal,” he said.

Samphan, a director-general in the office, said the results of the election, won by the pro-Thaksin People’s Power Party or PPP, had no bearing on the legal cases against the former prime minister.

Thaksin said in Hong Kong Tuesday that he is exploring options about a comeback to Thailand between mid-February and April.

He vowed to stay out of direct politics but said he was prepared to serve as adviser to the PPP.

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The PPP won 233 of 480 seats in the lower house of Parliament in the Dec. 23 vote, while its top rival, the Democrat Party, won 165.

The PPP says it has already gathered enough support from smaller parties to form a coalition, but analysts say that horse-trading continues and that it is too early to declare the pro-Thaksin grouping as Thailand’s next government.

An arrest warrant was issued for Thaksin in August after he failed to appear in court in a case involving conflict of interest in a land deal while he was in power. His wife Pojamarn is accused of illegally buying real estate from a government agency effectively controlled by her husband.

The military-appointed government that succeeded Thaksin launched several investigations into his alleged corruption and have frozen millions of dollars of his family’s assets. Other cases against him and family members are pending.

The 58-year-old multimillionaire, who owns the Manchester City soccer club, has been living mostly in England since his ouster in September, 2006.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Official: Thaksin will face arrest –



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