19 Apr 2010

Fiji open to possible Thaksin residency bid

2:34 pm on 19 April 2010

The interim government in Fji says it would treat the former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra like any other applicant if he sought to settle in Fiji.

The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper is reporting that the fugitive former leader, who faces a jail sentence for a conflict of interest charge if he returns to Thailand, may be either in Fiji or on his way to Fiji.

The paper says Thaksin, whose Thai passport has been cancelled, may be considering setting up a base in Fiji because it has no extradition treaty with Thailand.

Fiji's immigration minister, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, says he is not aware whether Thaksin is in the country.

But he says every application is treated on a case-by-case basis,

"Citzenship will be very hard because he doesn't qualify by time. Certainly if he wants to invest we would consider it and we would give him the appropriate status that should be given."

Ratu Epeli Ganilau says the government looks more favourably on people who can invest a large sum of money.