BANGKOK – Thailand’s Supreme Court has upheld the lower court ruling imposing a 20-year jail term on a Dutchman. The Dutchman and his Thai ex-wife, laundered Bt300 million baht acquired from marijuana sales in the Netherlands through Thailand.
Johannes Petrus Maria van Laarhoven, 59, was found guilty of 15 counts of wrongdoing and originally received a 103-year prison sentence. His wife, Mingkwan Kaen-in, 37, was found guilty of colluding in the money laundering and given an 11-year sentence.
In consideration of their testimonies, the court commuted Laarhoven’s sentence to 50 years and Mingkwan’s to seven years and four months.
The Dutchman’s jail term was then further reduced to 20 years, which is the maximum period of imprisonment for money laundering.
The pair had earlier denied the charges, but Laarhoven’s claim that he obtained the money legally failed to convince the judges.
Laarhoven and Mingkwan were arrested by Thai police with the help of Dutch authorities on July 23, 2014.
Thai Authorities Seized a total of Bt100 million of Assets from the Dutchman
The officers impounded their land, eight copies of their title deeds, five luxury cars, and the rest of their valuables, worth a total of 100 million baht.
The pair saw their cases proceed to the Court of First Instance in 2015 and the Court of Appeals in 2017.
Laarhoven claimed that he obtained the Bt300 million from the sale of four coffee houses in the Netherlands.
However, the Supreme Court ruled that there was no evidence to support his claim. Stating that Bt300 million was too large an amount to be generated by a coffee business.
The judges found that Laarhoven transferred the drug money to Thailand in 15 instances and later made 28 separate withdrawals.
According to the court, the cash was used to buy various properties in order to conceal its source.
Netherlands Justice Minister visits Prime Minster Prayut About Dutchman
Last week the Netherlands Justice minister paid a visit on the Thai PM for talks on the Dutchman repatriation.
The Justice minister and the Thai Prime Minister met on Friday to discuss the case of the Dutchman. He gave no more details because of the ‘diplomatic nature of the visit.
Earlier this year, MPs called on the government to bring Johan van Laarhoven and his wife back to the Netherlands. After criticism by the national ombudsman over the governments bungling over his arrest.