Thaksin's Manchester City deal is clean, says broker

UPDATED: 14:16, June 25, 2007

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's takeover bid for the Manchester City Football Club was completely above board, said the deal's broker on Sunday.

Thaksin has agreed to an 81.6-million-pound deal to buy the soccer club while Thai authorities are set to investigate the source of the funds behind his offer.

Keith Harris, executive chairman of Seymour Pierce Investment Bank, told BBC Five Live's Sportsweek program on Sunday that the money to buy Man City is "clean."

"It has been legitimately and transparently transferred to the UK," he said.

Earlier this month Thaksin's bank accounts in Thailand were frozen following an investigation into corruption.

Thailand's finance minister Chalongphob Sussangkarn said Thaksin's latest venture was a "mystery" since Thaksin was required by law to declare all his assets during his time as Prime Minister and, according to Chalongphob, none of the declarations disclosed any foreign assets.

But Harris insisted the charges back in Thailand would have nothing to do with Thaksin's bid for the Premier League club.

"He was the Prime Minister there and was exceptionally popular. He was also a successful businessman," he said.

"A number of bank accounts in Thailand, some personal and some corporate, have been frozen. But the money that has been used to finance the takeover and which will then be used to invest in the club is in English bank accounts and beyond their reach," he added.

Chalongphob, speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on East Asia conference in Singapore, promised to uncover the truth.

"I am sure Thailand's Asset Examination Commission will look at the source of these funds and try to see whether they are legal funds that were taken out or by other means," he said.

"If the deal for City goes ahead and the money is paid they will try to look at it. We don't know yet how he is going to finance it. We won't know until the deal is finalized," he said.

Source: Xinhua

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