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Thaksin cleared to leave Thailand: spokesman

As per Thaksin Shinawatra's spokesman, Thailand's SC grants the deposed premier permission to leave the kingdom for four weeks after he appears in court on graft charges.
AFP | By HT Correspondent, Bangkok
UPDATED ON MAR 11, 2008 12:56 PM IST

Thailand's Supreme Court has granted deposed premier Thaksin Shinawatra permission to leave the kingdom for four weeks after he appears in court on graft charges, his spokesman said on Tuesday.

Phongthep Thepkanjana said Thaksin wanted to travel to England this week, where he lived in self-imposed exile after his ouster in a military coup in September 2006. He has since bought Manchester City football club.

"Thaksin will travel to England first, around March 14, on his football business. The court has already given him permission to travel abroad until April 10," the spokesman said.

"He may travel to some other places in Europe depending on his missions."

Phongthep denied reports that Thaksin was planning to go to Japan to lecture at universities.

Thaksin returned to Thailand on February 28 after general elections in December brought his allies in the People Power Party into government.

The entrepreneur-turned-politician is due in court on Wednesday, when he is expected to enter a plea on charges of using his political office to win a favourable property deal for his wife.

If he leaves the country, Thaksin will likely return for an April 3 appearance before prosecutors, who are deciding whether to bring another court case against him over alleged securities fraud.

Military-backed investigators on Monday filed new criminal corruption charges against Thaksin, accusing him of wrongly legalising a lottery scheme.

Thaksin has vowed to stay out of politics, saying he will focus on teaching, sports and charity.

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