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New charges filed against Thaksin in Thailand

Military-backed investigators file new criminal corruption charges against deposed Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, accusing him of wrongly legalising a lottery scheme.

world Updated: Mar 11, 2008 08:43 IST

Military-backed investigators said they filed new criminal corruption charges on Monday against deposed Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, accusing him of wrongly legalising a lottery scheme.

The Assets Examination Committee, set up by the military after the 2006 coup against Thaksin, brought the charges to the Supreme Court, said the head of the investigation, Udom Faungfoong.

The panel bypassed the Office of the Attorney General to file the complaint after prosecutors declined to take part in the case, he said.

The charges centre on a procedural issue, claiming that Thaksin and his cabinet legalised an underground lottery with a decree, when they should have sought parliamentary approval, Udom said.

Thaksin and 46 others were charged, he said.

"Now we just have to wait for the court to decide whether to take the case or to drop it. I do not know how long the court will take to announce its decision," Udom told AFP.

The Supreme Court has already accepted a corruption case accusing Thaksin of using his office to win a sweetheart property deal for his wife in 2003.

He heard the charges immediately after his dramatic return to Thailand on February 28, when adoring crowds welcomed his homecoming after nearly 18 months in self-imposed exile following the coup.

Thaksin has kept a low profile since then but is scheduled to appear before the court on Wednesday to enter his plea in the land case.