Thaksin 'corruption' saga

Philippines will not offer Man City's Thaksin asylum

November 10, 2008

Former Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra will not be granted political asylum in the Philippines, it was disclosed on Monday.

The former Thai prime minister, who was deposed in a military coup in 2006, would be refused if he applied for asylum in the Philippines.

The news comes after it emerged at the weekend the British Government revoked the visas of Thaksin and his wife Pojaman while they were out of the UK on business.

The 59-year-old, who sold his stake in City to the Abu Dhabi United Group in August, but is still an honorary president of the Premier League club, fled to the UK in August while facing several charges including corruption in Thailand.

He was convicted in his absence last month by a Thai court and given a two-year jail sentence.

Prosecutors planned to seek his extradition from Britain before his visa was revoked on Saturday.

Currently in Beijing, Thaksin is said to have told reporters he will ''keep travelling''.

Philippines presidential spokesman Jesus Dureza said Thaksin had not applied for asylum.

''There is no such move,'' he said. ''But if there is any in the future, we will courteously tell Thaksin that we will not allow him to come to the country to seek political asylum.''

But Thaksin can enter Manila, the capital of the Philippines, as a tourist for 21 days without a visa, a privilege given to nationals from south-east Asia.

Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, Thaksin's brother-in-law, arrived in Manila on Monday for talks. He has not made any statement on speculation that he might meet Thaksin.

A Thai court convicted Thaksin last month of violating a conflict of interest law by facilitating his wife's purchase of lucrative Bangkok real estate from a state agency in 2003, while he was prime minister. His wife was acquitted.