By ROB HARRIS – Associated Press Writer
MANCHESTER, England (AP) – Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said Tuesday that his conviction by a Thai court on a corruption charge is politically motivated because it was plotted by the leaders of the 2006 coup that ousted him from power.
A court in Bangkok on Tuesday found Thaksin guilty of a corruption charge and sentenced him to two years in prison, adding a new twist to the country’s paralyzing political crisis.
«It was expected, it wasn’t a surprise and there will be more (charges) to come,»
Thaksin told The Associated Press by telephone from his home near London.
The guilty verdict was the first against the country’s former leader since he was ousted by a 2006 military coup after being accused of corruption and abuse of power.
Billionaire Thaksin jumped bail and fled to Britain while the corruption charges were pending. He has repeatedly proclaimed his innocence.
«It was politically motivated since the court is a carry-forward of the coup d’etat,» Thaksin said. «I’m a politician and after I was toppled by the coup it’s normal that they will try every means to justify it.
Thaksin said he would distribute translations of the testimonies from the case to the international community.
«They don’t use the rule of the law as evidence, they follow the politics,» he said.
«They try to use the court to manage politics. I think the British people and the world understand that isn’t democracy.
Thaksin, who sold English Premier League football club Manchester City last month to an Abu Dhabi investors, said he was confident he would be able to remain in Britain.
«I was waiting for today before planning my life,» he said. «I want to be a prominent businessman in the U.K. if the British people will welcome me.