A Thai criminal court on Monday approved a second arrest warrant for ousted and exiled premier Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife over corruption charges stemming from a controversial share sale.
"The court approved an arrest warrant" for Thaksin and his wife Pojaman, said Pornchai Asavawattanaporn, the deputy chief of the Justice Ministry's Department of Special Investigations (DSI).
The DSI is investigating the former first couple's alleged fraudulent filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission over a 2003 listing of a property company owned by Thaksin's family.
It said the arrest warrant was issued as the couple repeatedly failed to appear in Bangkok to hear fraud charges. They currently live in Britain, where Thaksin has bought the Manchester City football club.
Thaksin and Pojaman were already slapped with arrest warrants by the Supreme Court in August over separate graft charges over a real estate deal in 2003.
The Supreme Court is set to consider on September 25 whether extradition proceedings should begin in that case.
In the land controversy, Thaksin is accused of illegally influencing the deal to allow his wife to buy prime Bangkok real estate from a government agency for the bargain price of 772 million baht (22 million dollars), about one-third its estimated value.
The couple have been placed on an immigration blacklist, meaning that they can be immediately arrested if they try to enter Thailand.
But Thaksin has repeatedly said he will not return to the kingdom due to fears for his safety under the military-installed government. The couple have denied all the charges against them.
Pichit Cheunban, a lawyer for Thaksin, said Monday he would inform the billionaire ex-premier of the second arrest warrant.
"A team of his lawyers will discuss what to do next," Pichit told reporters.
Thaksin has sued the chief of the DSI, Sunai Manomai-udom, for slander, seeking 43 million dollars in damages. Pichit said Thaksin would not drop the case against Sunai.
Last Mod: 03 Eylül 2007, 12:52