Deposed Thai PM Thaksin now in Dubai: aide

BANGKOK, November 17, 2008 (AFP) – Thailand’s ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is staying in Dubai as he seeks a new home after his British visa was revoked earlier this month, an aide said Monday.

Billionaire Thaksin – who was toppled in a coup in 2006 and has been living in exile since August to avoid jail sentences at home – also plans to address supporters in Thailand by telephone next month, said the aide.

Since Britain cancelled Thaksin’s visa on November 7, he has travelled to several cities around the world including Beijing and Hong Kong – where he divorced his wife in a surprise move late last week.

“He is in Dubai, I don’t know how long he will be there,” Jatuporn Prompan, a key leader for a Thaksin supporters group, told AFP in Bangkok.

“He will call to talk about the political situation” to supporters at the National Stadium on December 10, Jatuporn said, adding that he did not know if Thaksin would do so from the Gulf emirate.

Thaksin has links to the United Arab Emirates, having sold Premier League Club Manchester City to Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan’s Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG) in September.

He was forced to give up his stake after having 2.2 billion dollars of his assets frozen as a result of corruption and fraud charges in Thailand.

A lawyer for Thailand’s opposition party said Sunday that Thaksin Shinawatra would not recoup his money simply by his decision to divorce his wife, Pojaman, after 32 years of marriage.

Family and intelligence sources claimed the split, carried out on Friday, was for financial or legal reasons.

The couple fled to Britain in August after Pojaman and her brother were sentenced to three years in jail for tax evasion.

Thaksin insists that the charges against him and his family are politically motivated.

He continues to make waves in Thailand, where anti-government protesters who claim the current administration is a corrupt front for the ex-premier have occupied government buildings in Bangkok for three months.


© 1994-2008 Agence France-Presse

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