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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 June 2007, 07:43 GMT 08:43 UK
Thai ex-PM accused of corruption
Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra (file image)
Mr Thaksin has stayed away from Thailand since the coup
Thai prosecutors have filed corruption charges against former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

He is accused of illegally helping his wife buy government-owned land at a bargain price four years ago.

The former Thai leader, who was overthrown in a bloodless military coup last September, denies any wrongdoing.

He currently lives abroad, mainly in London, and has just launched a 81.6m ($163m) bid to buy English premier football club Manchester City.

Land deal

The charges relate to the purchase of a plot of land in Bangkok by Mr Thaksin's wife Pojaman, for 772m baht ($24m; 12m).

The land, owned by a government agency, had earlier been valued at 2.1bn baht.

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra playing football (file image)

Mr Thaksin is accused of illegally influencing the deal.

The Supreme Court said it would decide on 10 July if it would hear the case.

If it goes ahead, Mr Thaksin and his wife would reportedly be required to attend opening arguments.

The BBC's Jonathan Head in Bangkok says that since they took power, the Thai military authorities have been under sustained public pressure to prove their accusations of corruption and abuses of power against Mr Thaksin.

Now for the first time prosecutors say they have a strong-enough case to file formal charges.

Besides the land deal, investigations into 12 other cases are under way.

Around 53bn baht of his assets have been frozen.

Earlier this week, Thai police said they wanted to question Mr Thaksin over another case of alleged graft involving a property company owned by his family.

There were initial reports Mr Thaksin would be required to go to a Bangkok police station, but police later said his lawyers could appear on his behalf.

He has repeatedly insisted that the moves against him are politically motivated.

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