London, Aug 11 : Thailand's deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has said that he and his family had fled to Britain.
The millionaire Manchester City boss spoke after he and his wife skipped a hearing on corruption charges in a Bangkok court.
A hand-written statement from Thaksin said he fled because he could not expect justice in Thai courts. It came amid newspaper reports that he would seek asylum in Britain, the Daily Express reported.
"My wife and I have traveled to reside in England," Thaksin said in the statement.
"If I still have luck, I would come back and die on Thai soil like every other Thai person.
Thaksin's statement, which did not mention asking for asylum, was read on state-run television.
"What happened to my family and me is like fruit from a poisonous tree - the fruit will also be poisoned. There is a continuation of dictatorship in managing Thai politics ... which is followed by interference in the justice system," the statement said.
Thaksin and his wife Pojaman failed to appear before the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions in a case involving an allegedly unlawful purchase of real estate.
The couple left Thailand last week after the court gave them permission to attend the Olympic Games in Beijing but ordered them to report back. News reports in Bangkok said Thaksin and Pojaman flew from China to England, where the former leader owns several properties as well as the Manchester City club.
Thaksin lived in exile in Britain after he was ousted in a 2006 military coup. He returned to Thailand earlier this year to face corruption charges against him after his political allies won new elections and formed a coalition government.