Ex-premier faces legal maze upon his return
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Ex-premier faces legal maze upon his return

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra appears briefly in front of the private jet terminal at Don Mueang airport on Tuesday morning. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra appears briefly in front of the private jet terminal at Don Mueang airport on Tuesday morning. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra faces 10 years in prison in three cases upon returning on Tuesday. But based on the court rulings, he will likely serve a maximum of five years.

The three cases are referred to as the “Shin Corp nominee” case, the two- and three-digit lottery scheme case and the Exim Bank loan case.

In the “Shin Corp nominee” case, Thaksin was accused of allowing nominees to hold shares in Shin Corporation to gain benefits in a company awarded a concession from a state agency. But he fled during the trial, so the trial was suspended. After an organic law on criminal procedures for holders of a political position took effect and allowed a trial to resume in a defendant’s absence, the trial resumed. He was guilty of two charges in this case and sentenced to five years in jail.

In the two- and three-digit lottery case, he was found guilty in absentia and given a two-year jail term. Based on the court ruling, Thaksin rushed the lottery scheme, which ran during 2003-2006, causing damage to the state.

In the last case, he was accused of malfeasance in connection with the Exim Bank of Thailand granting a 4-billion-baht loan to the Myanmar government. The court found the loan for purchasing equipment and services from Shin Satellite Company was a conflict of interest. He was sentenced to three years in prison.

Thaksin was also sentenced to two years in prison in October 2008 for a conflict of interest over a land purchase by his then-wife, Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra. However, the sentence expired as he fled punishment abroad for over 10 years.

According to a source in the Court of Justice, the number of years Thaksin will spend in jail depends on the court’s order in each case. The key is if the court says the sentence in the case must be served consecutively after he completes serving the sentence in the prior case. If none of the court orders says so, he will likely spend five years in jail instead of 10. He can also seek a royal pardon in each case.

Thaksin was acquitted in 2019 in a case where he was accused of manipulating the rehabilitation plan of the Thai Petrochemical Industry (TPI) through the Ministry of Finance for his own benefit.

He also was given the benefit of the doubt in a case where he was accused by the National AntiCorruption Commission (NACC) of manipulating Krungthai Bank’s 9-billion-baht loan granted to Krisda Mahanakorn Group.

The NACC recently dropped charges against him and three others in a corruption case linked with Thai Airways International (THAI).

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