OAG asks court to resume trials of cases against Thaksin

OAG asks court to resume trials of cases against Thaksin

Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.(Bangkok Post file photo)
Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.(Bangkok Post file photo)

The Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to resume the hearing of two criminal cases against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra under a new organic law that allows the trial of fugitive politicians in absentia.

OAG spokesman Wanchart Santikunchorn told a news briefing the two cases involve the Krungthai Bank loan scandal and the Thaksin government's conversion of mobile phone operators' concession fees into excise tax (which was said to have benefitted Thaksin's own company).

Mr Wanchart said that a panel of public prosecutors have concluded the OAG must proceed with the cases under the 2017 organic law governing trial procedures for political office holders.

The panel also recommended the attorney-general ask the Supreme Court to resume the trials of Thaksin in absentia.

The attorney-general acted on the recommendation and ordered prosecutors handling the cases to submit a petition to the court, asking it to resume the two trials, Mr Wanchart said.

It is up to the Supreme Court to decide whether to resume or not.

He said that the OAG took the case involving conversion of concession fees into excise tax to court in 2008 and the Krungthai Bank loan case in 2012.

The court accepted the cases for consideration, but both trials had to be suspended under the old law because Thaksin fled the country.

The court in August 2015 sentenced 19 of 26 defendants in the Krungthai case to jail terms for their involvement in approving loans totalling more than 10 billion baht in 2003-2004 to real estate developer Krissadamahanakorn through its affiliates, even though th company was rated a non-performing debtor.

They included Viroj Nualkhair, who was the KTB president at the time, and Suchai Jaovisidha, the then bank chairman.The two were sentenced to 18 years behind bars.

State prosecutors named Thaksin, who was the prime minister when the loans were approved, as a first defendant in the case when the indictment was filed in 2012.

The court did not rule on Thaksin, who did not appear in court and is the subject of an arrest warrant in the case.

Details of the case against Thaksin have not been announced.

Thaksin fled into self-exile ahead of his sentencing to two years' imprisonment in absentia in October 2008 on a charge of abuse of authority in the purchase of state land by his then-wife while he was prime minister.

He was recently joined by his sister, former prime minister Yingluck, who fled ahead of being sentenced  to prison for failing to stop corruption in her government's rice pledging scheme.

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