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Page last updated at 08:27 GMT, Monday, 25 August 2008 09:27 UK

Prosecutors seek Thaksin's assets

Thaksin Shinawatra in the UK (March 2008)
Mr Thaksin says the charges are aimed at derailing his political come-back

Prosecutors in Thailand have asked the Supreme Court to seize $2.2bn (1.2bn) in assets belonging to ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The move is part of an investigation into alleged corruption during the businessman's five years in office.

Prosecutors said the money - frozen since the military seized power in a coup - should be put in state coffers.

Mr Thaksin, who denies any wrong-doing, is now in Britain where he owns the Manchester City football club.

He came to the UK earlier this month to avoid facing the corruption charges - allegations which he says are aimed at preventing his return to front-line politics.

"Unusual wealth"

Early on Monday, Thai prosecutors handed over a lengthy submission seeking the confiscation of the frozen assets.

"The prosecutors are presenting evidence to ask the court to take away his unusual wealth and put it in state coffers," Reuters news agency quoted chief prosecutor Seksan Bangsomboon as saying.

In the wake of the September 2006 coup, military-backed investigators instigated a series of charges against Mr Thaksin and his family for corruption and abuse of power.

When Mr Thaksin returned to Thailand in February after 18 months of self-imposed exile, he vowed to fight the charges and clear his name.

But on 31 July his wife was convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to three years in jail.

Analysts say that the couple feared further cases could go against them and decided it was time to leave the country.

The Supreme Court has issued arrest warrants for the couple, but it is not yet clear whether Thai authorities will seek their extradition from the UK.



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