Bangkok, Mar 12: Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra today pleaded innocence before the country's Supreme Court, denying charges of misusing public office for personal gain that led to his ouster by the army nearly 18 months ago.
Mr Thaksin is accused of having helped his wife, while he was prime minister, secure prime Bangkok real estate from a state institution for much less than its market value. He faces another financial misdemeanour charge relating to the tax-free sale of his family telecom business to the Singapore state investment arm in January 2006 that triggered mass street protests in Bangkok leading to the coup d'etat in September that year.
Mr Thaksin returned to the country in late February for the first time after living abroad in self-exile since his ouster. He was allowed yesterday by a court to travel abroad tomorrow for four weeks.