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Thai Court Sentences Thaksin Shinawatra to Three Years in Prison

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BANGKOK – Thailand’s Junta created Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Office has sentenced fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to three years in prison without suspension after finding him guilty of malfeasance in office for approving a 4-billion-baht low interest loan from the Thai Exim Bank to Myanmar for the purchase of telecom equipment and services from his family-owned company, Shin Satellite.

The court also issued a warrant for the arrest of Thaksin who has been in self-exile since 2008.

After his overthrow in a military coup in 2006, a special Assets Scrutiny Committee was set up by the junta-appointed government to investigate Thaksin’s massive wealth and his alleged conflicts of interest which may have enabled him to amass considerable wealth.

The Exim Bank’s loan to Myanmar is just one of about a dozen cases investigated by the panel and, subsequently, by the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Three other cases are still pending, including the change of concession fees for his family’s telecom business, which caused an estimated 66 billion baht revenue loss for the state; the granting of 9.9 billion in loans to a real estate group, Krisdamahanakorn, by the state-owned Krung Thai Bank; and the planned issuance of three and two-digit lotteries.

The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Offices accepted the case in July 2008, but Thaksin did not show up for the first hearing and was reported to have fled overseas.  A warrant was issued for his arrest.

Source: Thai PBS