Ex-PAD co-leader out on royal pardon

Ex-PAD co-leader out on royal pardon

Sondhi Limthongkul is taken to Bangkok Remand Prison on Sept 6, 2016. He was released on Wednesday. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)
Sondhi Limthongkul is taken to Bangkok Remand Prison on Sept 6, 2016. He was released on Wednesday. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)

Sondhi Limthongkul was released from jail on Wednesday on a royal pardon after spending three years behind bars on multiple charges.

The former co-founder of the now-defunct People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) walked out of the hospital of the Corrections Department on Wednesday afternoon after spending three years and one month at Bangkok Remand Prison and the prison hospital due to illnesses.

Sondhi, 72, was among prisoners granted a royal pardon by His Majesty the King on the occasion of his royal wedding with Her Majesty the Queen on May 1. He had demonstrated good behaviour during the jail term and was more than 70 years old, which are among qualifications needed to seek a royal pardon.

But the former protest leader against then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra needed a legal interpretation on his status due to his violation of the Securities and Exchange Act, something that could prevent violators being granted an early release.

The former media mogul was sentenced to 20 years by the Supreme Court in September 2016. The founder of Manager Media Group, and two former Manager directors, were found violating the act.

They were convicted of falsifying loan guarantee documents for a 1.078-billion-baht loan from Krungthai Bank, without seeking approval from the board of directors.

Corrections Department director-general Naras Savestanan said on Wednesday a meeting comprising judges, state prosecutors and himself was held on Tuesday to clarify Sondhi's legal status. They agreed to his release because his company was not a financial institution.

Mr Naras said there were no political motives behind the decision to release him.


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