Source AP ©

Thailand's former PM to buy English football club

Toppled Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra, who earlier made an unsuccessful bid for Liverpool, is planning to buy another English soccer club, according to a Web site close to Thaksin seen Monday.

The site - www.hi-thaksin.net - said that the former prime minister was ready to pay more than 6 billion baht (US$185 million; EUR 136 million) for the Manchester City Football Club with partners from China and the Middle East.

Nopadol Pattama, Thaksin's lawyer and de facto spokesman in Thailand, said he had read about the bid on the Web site but had not yet had time to ask Thaksin about it.

Thaksin, one of the country's richest people, was toppled in a bloodless military coup last September following months of mass street protests accusing him of massive corruption and abuse of power. He has since been spending time at his home in London and traveling in Europe and Asia.

In 2004, the then-prime minister made an unsuccessful attempt to buy Liverpool and had also reportedly expressed interest in acquiring other English soccer clubs.

The Web site said that Mohammed al-Fayed, the Egyptian billionaire owner of London's Harrods department store and the Fulham Football Club, was involved in the negotiations on behalf of Thaksin.

The Web site was started by associates of Thaksin and frequently counters criticism against him by the current, military-backed government.