Parole granted for 'ill' Krungthai loan convicts

Parole granted for 'ill' Krungthai loan convicts

Krung Thai Bank president Viroj Nuankae (right) and executive board chairman Suchai Jaovisidha (centre) at a bank meeting on April 23, 2004. (File photo)
Krung Thai Bank president Viroj Nuankae (right) and executive board chairman Suchai Jaovisidha (centre) at a bank meeting on April 23, 2004. (File photo)

Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister Prajin Juntong on Tuesday approved parole for three elderly and apparently ill convicts in the Krungthai Bank (KTB) loan scandal.

The parole was for Suchai Jaovisidha, former chairman of KTB, Viroj Nualkhair, former KTB president, and Matchima Kunjara Na Ayudhya, former KTB director. They were among those found guilty in approving huge loans for companies under property development group Krisdamahanakorn.

Corrections Department director-general Narat Sawetanan said the justice minister granted the controversial parole because the three met legal criteria:

  • served one-third of their jail terms (three years, four months and 15 days)
  • elderly, aged at least 70 and
  • suffering terminal stages of illnesses

The three were released from jail on Tuesday and will be required to report to probation offices.

They all were sentenced to 18 years in prison by the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions, and sent to jail on Aug 26, 2015. They gradually obtained royal pardons on important occasions, a good-behaviour perk, and their terms were thus shortened to nine years.

According to the Ministry of Justice announcement of their release, all three have suffered chronic illnesses during most of their imprisonment period. They were sent to outside hospitals on occasion. Viroj is virtually blind and Machima depends on a wheelchair.

They were found guilty of wrongfully approving more than 9.9 billion baht in loans to affiliates of developer Krisdamahanakorn, even though the firm was listed with the bank as a non-performing debtor.

The loans were approved during the tenure of former prime minister, presently a fugitive, Thaksin Shinawatra, who was the first defendant in the same case. His son Panthongtae Shinawatra was charged recently with money-laundering for allegedly receiving money from the property development group.

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