Most ex-presidents and former prime ministers devote their lives to making a positive difference in the world, or at least fade away into obscurity. Here are five former leaders who have done neither.
BY JOSHUA E. KEATING | OCTOBER 1, 2010
Old job: Prime minister of Thailand, 2001-2006
New image: Since being deposed in a 2006 coup amid allegations of graft and human rights abuses, Thaksin has lived a peripatetic existence. The former billionaire businessman has served as a "special ambassador" for Nicaragua and an economic advisor in Cambodia, and was briefly owner of the Manchester City* soccer club. Thaksin reportedly lived under a false name in Germany for more than a year and has used illegally received passports from a number of other countries as well. He now makes his home in Dubai.
This year, Thaksin's supporters, known as "red shirts," occupied central Bangkok and stormed government buildings throughout the country in an effort to force the government to step down. Around 90 people were killed in the ensuing clashes between often-armed protesters and police before the two sides agreed to a cease-fire. Thai courts charged Thaksin in absentia for his role in fomenting the protests. Although Thaksin was vocally supportive of the red shirts -- he once called into a rally and promised "to make all Thais rich" if his supporters were able to regain political power -- he denies funding their efforts. He has also been convicted on additional corruption charges since going into exile, though he maintains that those charges are politically motivated.
Since the red shirts' defeat, Thaksin has cut back on his media appearances and political activities. In August, he gave up his position with the Cambodian government, helping ease relations between the two countries.