Thailand court convicts wife of ex-PM Thaksin for tax evasion

[JURIST] A Thai court on Thursday convicted Pojamarn Shinawatra [JURIST news archive], the wife of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], of tax evasion for transferring $16.3 million worth of stock to her step-brother and secretary, who were also convicted. Pojamarn and step-brother Bannapot Damapong were each sentenced to three years and her secretary was sentenced to two years imprisonment for the crime. Pojamarn has said the transfer was exempt from taxation as a gift, and all three have been released on bail while they appeal the ruling. Pojamarn also faces a number of corruption charges made by the country's Assets Examination Commission. In April, she pleaded not guilty to charges [JURIST reports] of conflict of interest and malfeasance stemming from a 2003 agreement with the government-directed Financial Institutions Development Fund [official website] to purchase land said to be worth three times more than the $26 million she paid for it. AFP has more. The Bangkok Post has local coverage.

On Tuesday, the government brought its latest charges [JURIST report] against Thaksin, alleging that he and 47 others were involved in misconduct related to the country's lottery system. Earlier this month, the Thai Attorney General's Office filed other corruption charges [JURIST report] against Thaksin relating to a 2003 resolution that reduced fees paid by mobile phone companies to state telecommunications agencies. Lawyers for Thaksin have been jailed [JURIST report] for attempting to bribe court officials in one of Thaksin's cases, and current Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej [BBC profile] is facing possible impeachment proceedings [JURIST report] due in part to his party's close association with Thaksin . Thaksin and Pojamarn had been in self-imposed exile from Thailand after Thaksin was ousted in a military coup in 2006, but returned to the country earlier this year [JURIST reports].

 

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