Deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra plans to return to Thailand from self-imposed exile by mid-April and is prepared to defend himself in court against corruption-related charges, his lawyer said. Thai authorities have issued arrest warrants against Thaksin _ who has mostly lived in London since his ouster in a September 2006 military coup _ for allegedly violating stock-trading laws and on corruption-related charges.
Thaksin will not return until an elected government is in place following recent general elections, Noppadol Pattama, Thaksin’s lawyer and de facto spokesman, said Monday January 7.
Thaksin’s allies won the December 23 elections and say they have enough support from smaller parties to form a coalition government, which would enable them to appoint a prime minister of their choice after the lower house of Parliament convenes January 22.
Thaksin has lived abroad since he was deposed in a September 2006 military coup. He has vowed to stay out of politics but said he is ready to serve as an adviser to his allies in the People’s Power Party.
“Thaksin will return by mid-April to face trial,” Noppadol said. “He has confidence in the Thai judicial system.”
The Supreme Court issued warrants in August for Thaksin and his wife, Pojamarn, related to a 2003 land deal. Thaksin was charged with conflict of interest because Pojamarn bought the land from a government agency while he was prime minister.
Thailand’s Channel 9 and TITV reported Monday January 7 night that Pojamarn would return to Bangkok on Tuesday morning, and was expected to be immediately arrested.
Police could not be reached for comment on the reports.
In September, a Thai criminal court issued another arrest warrant for Thaksin over alleged concealment of his ownership of millions of dollars (euros) worth of shares from the Thai Stock Exchange.
Both cases stem from investigations by the Assets Examination Committee, created by the coup leaders who ousted Thaksin, to investigate corruption allegations against the former prime minister and his allies.
Thaksin has accused the committee of bias. His People’s Power Party allies say they would _ if they form the next government _ consider dissolving the committee and letting other counter-corruption agencies investigate.
Thaksin denies any wrongdoing while he was prime minister from 2001 to 2006.