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Web site: Thaksin to 'return, face charges'

  • Story Highlights
  • Web site urges Thaksin supporters to greet him at Bangkok airport Thursday
  • Expected to report to the country's Supreme Court on arrival
  • Thaksin faces charges of corruption and abuse of power
  • Thaksin's allies won the December elections and formed a new government
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BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) -- Deposed Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is expected to return to Thailand on Thursday after 17 months in exile, a pro-Thaksin Web site said.

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Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra visits an aviation show in Hong Kong, China, on February 14.

Soon afterward, he is expected to report to the country's Supreme Court to faces charges of corruption and abuse of power.

The Web site on Tuesday urged supporters to greet the former prime minister at the airport at 9 a.m. local time (0200 GMT), and thousands are expected to congregate.

The anti-Thaksin People's Alliance for Democracy, which in the past has staged numerous demonstrations denouncing his rule, told CNN on Tuesday that it did not have any plans to protest on Thursday.

If the decision stands, it will null the possibility of clashes between the two camps on Thursday.

Thaksin is a 58-year-old telecommunications tycoon who owns the English Premier League Manchester City Football Club. His party won two landslide victories before he was deposed in a bloodless military coup in September 2006. He has lived abroad since.

In December's parliamentary elections, allies of Thaksin, the People Power Party, won nearly half the seats in the lower house and paved the way for his return.

Thaksin has said he would not re-enter politics when he comes home. He said that he and his family had "suffered enough" but that he wanted to face the charges against him and prove his innocence.

The billionaire leader is accused of abusing the country's system of checks and balances and bending government policy to benefit his family's business.

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He and his wife face charges stemming from a Bangkok land deal and a stock concealment plan. In the real estate transaction, the wife is accused of purchasing undeveloped land for about a third of its estimated value.

Thaksin also faces separate charges of concealing assets. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Kochakorn Olarn contributed to this report.

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