Former Thai PM Skips Bail, Flees to UK

Facing graft charges, Thaksin escapes after attending Olympics
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2008 6:26 AM CDT
Thailand's ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife Pojaman arrive at criminal court for a verdict in Bangkok, Thailand.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Thaksin Shinawatra, the deposed Thai prime minister, has fled with his family to Britain after skipping a hearing on corruption charges, reports the AFP. Thaksin and his wife, who was recently convicted of tax evasion, were both free on bail and had received special permission to travel to China for the Olympics. A judge has issued arrest warrants for the former first couple.

"Obvious judicial interference and double standards caused me and my family to receive no justice," said Thaksin in a statement. Although the army ousted Thaksin in 2006, he remains Thailand's most powerful figure, and his allies swept back into power when democracy was restored last December. The billionaire PM spent most of his 2 years in exile in Britain, where he owns a leading soccer team. He had returned to Thailand to face charges of graft and abuse of power.