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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ex-Thai Premier Robbed at McDonald's

Thailand's globe-trotting deposed leader, Thaksin Shinawatra, garnered an academic honor by visiting Moscow last week, but lost thousands of dollars and his passport when he stopped at a McDonald's in the city center.

Thaksin, who has been living in exile since a coup last year ousted him as prime minister, had entrusted his briefcase to an aide sitting at a nearby table as they had a meal Monday at the McDonald's restaurant on the Arbat, said his lawyer, Noppadol Pattama, in Bangkok.

When the party got up to leave, they found that Thaksin's briefcase, with his passport and about $9,200 in dollars and rubles, had been snatched, he said.

Kommersant reported Saturday that the amount of cash in the briefcase was closer to $20,000. It said the briefcase had also contained a digital video camera and a digital camera.

A woman who answered the phone at the restaurant confirmed the robbery but directed all other questions to McDonald's head office. Officials there were unavailable for comment.

Thaksin, a billionaire, was in Moscow to accept an honorary degree in science from the Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics.

Noppadol said the Thai Embassy in Moscow had helped Thaksin, issuing him a new passport and other temporary travel documents.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said the ministry had not received full information about the theft and as a result was not in a position to comment.

A city police spokesman said he could not immediately comment on the case.

The Thai Embassy could not immediately be reached for comment.

Thai government agencies are not usually so helpful to Thaksin. Several months after Thaksin was toppled, the Thai Foreign Ministry canceled his diplomatic passport, which former prime ministers are normally allowed to carry as a special privilege.

The military-installed interim government that replaced Thaksin has been extremely hostile toward him, saying he should not return to his country until after elections scheduled for the end of this year. Thaksin was deposed after being accused of corruption and abuse of power.

Thaksin made a fortune in the telecoms business before entering politics, and has been living the life of an idle billionaire since losing his post, traveling between a residence in London and various countries in Asia. He is currently seeking to buy the English football team Manchester City.

AP, MT