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  Thaksin Shinawatra - Legal News

A Dubai lawyer has appeared in court to deny charges that he stole tens of millions of dollars from former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The lawyer, Khaled al-Muhairy, 45, a partner at a Dubai firm, is charged with breach of trust, attempted fraud and forgery charges. He pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors told the court Thursday that al-Muhairy took money from an escrow account his firm had been hired to manage in 2009.

The attorney is accused of taking $129 million, $97 million of that from Thaksin's sale of the Manchester City football club. He also stole millions to buy a villa and tried to steal millions more for a plane.

Thaksin was ousted in a 2006 coup and has often used Dubai as a base while in exile.

A mob of anti-government protesters pushed their way into the compound housing the offices of Thailand's prime minister on Tuesday, one of a series of actions against state agencies in the capital.

The demonstrators, from the right-wing People's Alliance for Democracy, stopped once they entered the compound at Government House at about 2:30 p.m. and did not attempt to enter the official offices there, footage on Thai TV channel 9 showed.

Earlier, mobs of alliance protesters took over a state-controlled television station and besieged several ministries in a self-described "final showdown" to try to bring down the elected government of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej.

It was the first time in recent years that a large crowd managed to get onto the Government House grounds. The crowd of several thousand appeared peaceful.

Samak was expected to speak about the situation late Tuesday afternoon.

The protests were the latest effort by the alliance to force Samak's government from office. The group contends Samak is a proxy for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup and now has gone into self-imposed exile in England.

Deposed Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his family have fled to the United Kingdom, the former leader said Monday after he and his wife skipped a hearing on corruption charges in a Thai court.

A handwritten statement from Thaksin issued Monday said he fled because he could not expect justice in Thai courts. It came amid newspaper reports that he would seek asylum in Britain.

"My wife and I have traveled to reside in England," Thaksin said in the statement. "If I still have luck, I would come back and die on Thai soil like every other Thai person.

Thaksin's statement, which did not mention asking for asylum, was read Monday afternoon on state-run television.

"What happened to my family and me is like fruit from a poisonous tree — the fruit will also be poisoned," the statement said. "There is a continuation of dictatorship in managing Thai politics ... which is followed by interference in the justice system."

Thaksin and his wife Pojaman failed to appear Monday morning before the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions in a case involving an allegedly unlawful purchase of real estate.

The couple left Thailand last week after the court gave them permission to attend the Olympic Games in Beijing but ordered them to report Monday. News reports in Bangkok said Thaksin and Pojaman flew from China to England, where the former leader owns several properties and the Manchester City football club.

Thaksin lived in exile in Britain after he was ousted in a 2006 military coup. He returned to Thailand earlier this year to face corruption charges against him after his political allies won new elections and formed a coalition government.

Thousands protest against Thai police

  International  -   POSTED: 2008/07/06 08:47

Thousands of people protested in front of Thailand's national police headquarters Monday to demand action on long-pending legal cases against ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The demonstrators, led by the People's Alliance for Democracy, accused police of protecting Thaksin and his loyalists against prosecution by stalling their investigations.

Thaksin was toppled in a bloodless military coup in 2006 following months of street protests led by the alliance. Critics accused the former leader of corruption and abuse of power.

Thaksin returned from exile earlier this year, vowing to clear his name in court.

More than 3,000 protesters gathered in front of the police headquarters in downtown Bangkok, near three of the country's most expensive shopping malls.

"I come to police headquarters to ask you why you have been sitting on the cases against Thaksin and his followers. These cases are moving nowhere," Sondhi Limthongkul, an alliance leader, shouted through a loudspeaker. "We are here to ask you to do your duty."

Thaksin Pleads Not Guilty in Thai Court

  International  -   POSTED: 2008/03/12 01:45

Ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra pleaded not guilty Wednesday before the Supreme Court in one of two criminal corruption cases against him.

More than 200 policemen with bomb detectors and five sniffer dogs were deployed around the court where some 400 of Thaksin's supporters waited, many holding portraits of the former leader over their heads.

"The defendant pleaded not guilty of the charges," chief judge Thongloh Chom-ngam told the court, which set the next hearing for April 29. It also excused Thaksin from having to appear at every hearing, as requested by his lawyer.

"We can prove our innocence," said Thaksin, who was ousted in a September 2006 military coup for alleged corruption and abuse of power.

When he emerged after the hearing, some of his supporters burst into tears while others cheered him, shouting "Thaksin, fight, fight."

"Never mind, everything will be OK," Thaksin told one female supporter who cried as she hugged him.

Thaksin's return has stirred the Thai political scene because of suspicions that he will seek a return to power and try to settle the score against those who deposed him.

He has insisted, though, that he has no interest in returning to politics and has said he plans to devote himself to charity work, sports and his family.

Court Complaint Lodged Over Thai Lottery

  International  -   POSTED: 2008/03/11 01:45

An anti-corruption body set up to investigate the activities of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's government filed a court complaint against him, his former Cabinet and other officials Monday alleging abuse of power in implementing a government lottery.

Among the 47 people named in the lawsuit filed with the Supreme Court are three members of the current Cabinet, according to Sitthichoke Sricharoen, a lawyer representing the Assets Examination Committee.

"It is now up to the Supreme Court to decide whether or not to accept the case," Sitthichoke said.

The targets of the suit are accused of malfeasance for allegedly mismanaging and illegally spending money gained from the lottery scheme initiated by Thaksin's government.

The complaint alleged that irregularities in the scheme caused the state $1.17 billion in financial losses. It asked the Supreme Court to order the 47 people to pay the damages.

Thaksin's government launched the lottery in 2003, saying it would lure people away from the popular illegal underground lottery and also would generate revenue for education.

In addition to officials of the government lottery office, the suit targets Thaksin — who was toppled in a 2006 military coup and returned from exile last month to face other cases against him — and 29 members of his former Cabinet.

Three of those named in the suit are in the current government of Thaksin ally Samak Sundaravej.

The committee had previously submitted the case to the Attorney General's office, which had declined to prosecute it. This time it decided to submit the complaint directly to the Supreme Court's criminal division for political office holders, said Sitthichoke.

Rakkiat Pattanaphong, the division's secretary, said a panel of nine judges will take 30 days to deliberate whether to accept the case and order a trial.

The AEC was established right after the September 2006 coup that toppled Thaksin. There are several other corruption-related suits under way against Thaksin and his family, but none have yet come to trial.

A Thai court issued arrest warrants yesterday for former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife over their alleged violations of stock-trading laws.

It is the second set of warrants issued in the past month against Thaksin, who has been living abroad since he was ousted in a bloodless coup almost a year ago. The other case involved conflict of interest related to the sale of Bangkok real estate.

Sunai Manomaiudom, director-general of the Department of Special Investigation, said the Bangkok Criminal Court had issued the warrant at his agency's request.

Thaksin has denied all allegations against him, and has said he will not return to Thailand until after new elections are held at the end of this year.

Thaksin was deposed last September after the country fell into a political crisis due to mass demonstrations demanding he step down because of alleged corruption and abuse of power.

He became a billionaire in the telecommunications sector before entering politics and serving as prime minister since 2001. A controversial business deal by his family, the sale early last year of its telecommunications company Shin Corp to a Singapore state investment company, was a major cause of public discontent.

The new warrants for Thaksin and his wife, Pojamarn, involve charges of violating regulations requiring disclosure of corporate information to the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

Pichit Chuenban, a lawyer for Thaksin's family, said he would inform the former prime minister of yesterday's court action, and advise him not to return to fight the case for the time being "because the situation in the country is not normal."

"We think he should return only after we have an elected government," Pichit said. Thailand is currently administered by an interim civilian government, but a military council exercises power behind the scenes and is intensely hostile toward Thaksin.

Sunai had earlier said Thaksin and other family members controlled nearly 80 percent of SC Asset, a real estate company, both directly and through nominee companies, and sold their interests to outside parties last year.

They are charged with violating disclosure rules, both by failing to report their ownership and failing to report the sale of shares.

Each violation of the exchange's regulations carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a fine of US$15,500.

Sunai said Thaksin is also suspected of violating a law on Cabinet members holding company shares, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a US$31,000 fine.

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