Thaksin gets further prison term

Thaksin gets further prison term

The Supreme Court yesterday sentenced fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to five years in jail after finding him guilty of illegally holding shares in the state's phone concessionaires and a conflict of interest.

The Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions resumed the trial against Thaksin in absentia as he has been in self-imposed exile overseas since 2008.

Thaksin was charged with malfeasance and conflict of interest between 2001 and 2006, during his two terms as prime minister.

He was accused of violating the Organic Act on Counter Corruption by holding shares in Shin Corp through proxies.

The act prohibits a government official from holding shares in a contractor of the state.

It found Thaksin had ordered executive decrees and his cabinet reached a resolution to cut the excise tax rate for mobile phone operators from 50% to 10%.

He had also allowed such operators to deduct their concession fees against tax they paid.

That benefited AIS and Digital Phone Co, subsidiaries of Thaksin's company Shin Corp.

The companies also obtained mobile phone concessions from TOT and CAT Telecom.

A panel of judges decided by a majority vote to sentence Thaksin to two years in jail for holding shares in the mobile phone companies and three years for conflict of interest. The sentences are consecutive.

The latest court rulings take Thaksin's total prison sentences to 12 years.

The Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions also jailed him for two years in 2008 for violating the National Counter Corruption Act in the Ratchadaphisek land purchase case.

The court jailed him for another three years in April last year for having a conflict of interest in the Exim Bank loan case, and a further two years in June for illegally launching lottery schemes more than a decade ago.

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