Thai Supreme Court tries Thaksin for corruption

Thailand's Supreme Court opened corruption proceedings against ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Sinawatra in his absence. The billionaire is accused of vying political influence to purchase prime Bangkok real estate.


Thailand's Supreme Court opened corruption proceedings Tuesday against ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, in his first criminal trial since a coup nearly two years ago.

Thaksin is accused of using his political influence to help his wife Pojaman buy a plot of prime Bangkok real estate from the central bank at a bargain price.

They each face up to 13 years in prison if convicted. Because the case is before the Supreme Court, they would have no avenue of appeal.

The flaboyant billionaire, who owns the Manchester City football club, and his wife did not attend the opening of the trial. Their lawyers had sought the court's permission for the proceedings to begin in their absence.

The military accused Thaksin of widespread corruption when royalist generals toppled his government in September 2006. Despite more than a year of military rule, this is the first case against him to reach trial.

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