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Thailand interior minister steps down in land scandal

BANGKOK -- Thailand's second-most powerful government official has resigned over allegations that he mishandled a land corruption case involving former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra 10 years ago.

Yongyuth Wichaidit said Friday he is stepping down on his own initiative to avoid legal complications. He has been interior minister and deputy prime minister in the current government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin's sister.

Different state agencies had contradictory views about whether Yongyuth was liable for a ruling he made in 2002 as acting permanent secretary of the interior ministry. He had declared that a controversial land sale to a Thaksin-owned company in 1997 had been legal.

Thaksin was deposed by a coup in 2006.

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