Thaksin to return to Thailand in August after 15 years in exile


Billionaire former prime minister faces a potential jail term on corruption charges if he returns home.

Thailand’s former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra plans to return home on August 10 after 15 years in self-imposed exile, his daughter has said.

The announcement on Wednesday came amid a prolonged political crisis in Thailand following a general election in May.

Thaksin, 74, was twice elected prime minister, but toppled in a military coup in 2006. He fled Thailand in 2008 to avoid a jail sentence for corruption that he claimed was politically motivated. He has been living in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

“I can’t believe what I am about to write. Dad is coming back on Aug 10 at Don Meung airport,” his daughter Paetongtarn Shinawatra wrote on her official Facebook page on Wednesday.

“My heart and everyone in our family feel overwhelmed, happy and worried, but we respect Dad’s decision,” she said.

Thaksin and the Pheu Thai party backed by his billionaire family remain popular among Thailand’s working and rural masses, coming in second in the May 14 poll.

Pheu Thai is trying to form a government after the military-dominated Senate blocked election winners Move Forward from naming a prime minister.

Pheu Thai is expected to nominate a candidate for the top job in the coming days.

Thailand’s deputy national police chief Surachate Hakparn said Thaksin would be subject to the judicial process upon his planned return.

He faces up to 10 years in jail for multiple cases in which he was convicted by the country’s supreme court, charges he says were politically motivated.

“The police will conduct their duties normally when the plane lands. He will have to go to court and listen to what they decide,” Surachate told the Reuters news agency.

Thaksin had previously indicated he would return to Thailand in July.



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