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Thailand starts long Thaksin extradition process PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 15 August 2008

Bangkok,Aug 13 ( - Thailand has begun the lengthy process to try to extradite former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who skipped bail this week and went into exile in London, the Attorney-General's office said on Wednesday.

A team of lawyers had been drawn up and was waiting for the formal signature of the Attorney-General, who is due to return from an overseas trip at the end of this week, state prosecutor Kosonlavat Intujunyong said.

"We have to prove that what he did in Thailand was wrong under British law," he told Reuters.

Thailand's Supreme Court issued arrest warrants on Monday for Thaksin and his wife, Potjaman, and seized 13 million baht ($385,000) in bail bonds after the couple failed to appear in a corruption case.

In a statement from his refuge in London, the 59-year-old telecoms billionaire apologized to the court for failing to appear in the case, which relates to his wife's purchase of state land for a knock-down price while Thaksin was in office.

After his removal in a 2006 coup on the pretext of "rampant corruption", Thaksin spent much of his time in the British capital, as well as in Hong Kong and Beijing.

The army-appointed interim government looked into trying to extradite him under a bilateral criminal treaty signed with Britain in 1911, but never lodged a request as no formal charges had been filed against him.

That is now no longer the case, although Thaksin, now owner of English Premiership soccer club Manchester City, is likely to be able to call on some of London's best legal minds to ensure any extradition attempt is stalled in British courts for years.

In his statement, Thaksin said his decision to jump bail was because political enemies who engineered the 2006 coup were meddling in the courts, making it impossible for him to receive a fair hearing in Thailand.

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