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Former Thai PM Formally Charged Over Land Deal

Thai prosecutors have filed corruption charges against former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, in the first criminal charges ever filed against him.

The charges filed Thursday at the Supreme Court against Mr. Thaksin and his wife, Pojaman, center on a controversial land purchase in 2003. Mr. Thaksin is accused of illegally influencing a deal to allow his wife to buy the land from a government agency at a bargain price.

A panel of judges will decide on July 10 whether to accept the case. If it goes ahead, Mr. Thaksin and his wife would have to appear in court to answer the charges, and the former leader could face about 10 years in prison, if convicted.

Mr. Thaksin has been living in exile overseas since a bloodless coup removed him from office last September. His wife has also left the country.

In the past month, military-installed authorities have disbanded Mr. Thaksin's political party and frozen more than $1.5 billion of his family's assets.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters, AFP and AP