Dubai lawyer jailed for cheating Thaksin | Bangkok Post: news

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Dubai lawyer jailed for cheating Thaksin

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The lawyer who handled Thaksin Shinawatra's sale of Manchester City has been sentenced to three years in prison for breach of trust after three billion baht of the transfer funds disappeared. 

The National newspaper of Dubai reported that the lawyer, identified only as "KM, 45" years old, was acquitted on charges of embezzlement and forgery.

The National described him as "an Emirati partner and manager of a well-known Dubai law firm".

He denied all the charges in the Thaksin case, the newspaper reported.

It quoted his statement to the court: "I am a military justice chief and have a clean record, and by God's grace it will remain clean."

The court disagreed, and found him guilty of involvement in the disappearance of 60 million UK pounds (just over three billion baht at today's exchange rates, or $95.3 million).

According to the court, he was Thaksin's lawyer when the former prime minister sold City in 2008 to Abu Dhabi.

The lawyer's firm controlled an escrow account in which funds for the sale were held. He was accused last March of embezzling 60 million pounds of the 150 million in the account. Prosecutors charged that he has already used 339.5 million to buy a personal villa.

The apparent misuse of the money came to light after Thaksin asked the lawyer to help to transfer a quarter of the money to a bank account in Montenegro, where Thaksin is reportedly a citizen.

Instead, the records show, the lawyer convinced Thaksin to keep the money in the UAE legal firm's account.

The Dubai court heard that the lawyer also tried to forge ownership papers on a Bombardier jet owned and used by Thaksin.

The defence reportedly attempted to claim that Thaksin had no legal standing in the case because the law firm had acted on behalf of UK Sports, not the deposed premier. The Dubai judge also rejected defence demands that the court consider corruption charges pending against Thaksin.

The convicted lawyer is expected to appeal his conviction and prison sentence, The National report said.

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