Thai graft-busters get boost in Thaksin probe
Mon, Jun 30, 2008

BANGKOK - INVESTIGATORS won a legal battle on Monday in their corruption probe of ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, clearing the way for more cases against him to proceed.

The military junta that toppled Mr Thaksin in 2006 created the Assets Examination Committee (AEC) to investigate a slate of corruption allegations against him.

But after a new constitution took effect last year, the Supreme Court questioned whether the AEC still had legal authority to keep working.

The issue was referred to the Constitutional Court, which ruled on Monday that the investigators' work was still legal.

'The judges have reached a unanimous decision that the ... Assets Examination Committee does not violate the constitution,' a court official said.

The ruling clears the way for other courts to proceed with corruption cases against Mr Thaksin, with the first trial to begin in July on charges he arranged for his wife to buy government property at a fraction of the appraised value.

The AEC's mandate expires on Monday, after one year and nine months of work.

So far, they have not won any convictions, and only four of the 14 major cases under investigation have actually been filed with the courts.

Most of the remaining cases are now being considered by prosecutors, who will decide whether to bring them to court. -- AFP


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