London, Aug 14 : Thailand today confirmed that it will request the extradition of former Thai Prime Minister and owner of the Manchester City football club, Thaksin Shinawatra, from Britain, after he fled to London to avoid facing a trial for fraud.
Thai Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag said that the country's first step would be the cancellation of the diplomatic passports held by Thaksin and his wife, Potjaman, after arrest warrants were issued for them on Monday by the country's Supreme Court.
"We will act promptly - this is our priority," The Times quoted him, as saying in Bangkok.
"The extradition procedure is difficult, complicated and time consuming and we cannot predict the timetable. Extradition is a very sensitive international legal issue, so it will require close consultation with Britain," he said.
A team of lawyers has been assembled and the process will begin in earnest next week after the return from overseas of Thailand's Attorney-General.
Any extradition attempt will be made under the terms of a 1911 treaty between Britain and the Kingdom of Siam, as Thailand was then known.
Such a process would be long and complicated, particularly if Thaksin applies for asylum in Britain.
Of more immediate concern to him will be an application to be made by the Attorney-General's office next week to seize 1.2 billion pounds of family assets, which were frozen in Thai banks after he was deposed in a military coup in 2006.
Thaksin is charged with corruption relating to Potjaman's purchase of a 12.2 million pounds plot of land in central Bangkok in 2003. The prosecutors allege that a government agency sold the property at Thaksin's behest for one third of its market value.
The Government has frozen about two billion dollars of his assets, and these may now also be forfeited.
This is on top of 200,000 pounds in bail bonds which will be forfeited by the Thaksins for jumping bail, after attending the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing last Friday.