That came a month after a Thai court convicted him of corruption and sentenced the former Telecoms tycoon to two years in prison.

In depth


 Interview: Thaksin speaks
 Video: Thaksin discusses Thailand's troubles
 Background: Who's who
 Economy: Vital tourist trade threatened
 Focus: Scarred by 'Mad Monday'
 Interview: What the Red Shirts want
 Timeline: Thai crisis
 Pictures: Red Shirts retreat
 Profile: Thaksin Shinawatra

In April a Bangkok court issued arrest warrants for Thaksin and 13 of his supporters after violent demonstrations that left two people dead and scores injured.

The warrant said the former prime minister was wanted for "threatening acts of violence and breach of the peace, punishable with five years in jail".

Two days later however the government Nicaragua announced it was giving Thaksin a passport naming him an "ambassador on a special mission", saying he can help bring in investment to the central American nation.

Thaksin was ousted by a 2006 coup after six years as Thailand's prime minister.

He was subsequently convicted of corruption and has been on the run on-and-off ever since.

While in exile he has continued to rally his supporters – dubbed the "red-shirts" – urging them to hold protests against the government.

Recent he has been sighted in Dubai, Nicaragua and Liberia - reportedly in pursuit of investment opportunities - as well as playing golf in Bali, shopping at upscale malls in Hong Kong and on trips to China and Australia.