Thailand Supreme Court delays corruption ruling on ex-PM and wife

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Thailand delayed a ruling Wednesday regarding corruption charges against former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and his wife Pojamarn Shinawatra [JURIST news archive]. The couple are being tried in absentia [JURIST report] over a controversial purchase of government land at a below-market price which occurred while Thaksin was in office. The Supreme Court also issued new arrest warrants for the two, who fled to the UK last month and refused to return to Thailand due to alleged judicial bias [JURIST reports]. According to reports, the Supreme Court announced that the verdict would be delayed until October 21 because the couple failed to appear before the court. Reuters has more. The Nation has local coverage.

Last month, Thai prosecutors asked the Supreme Court to seize over $2 billion [JURIST report] from the Shinawatras' frozen accounts and holdings. The Constitutional Court of Thailand [official website, in Thai] rejected [JURIST report] Thaksin's challenge that the commission bringing charges against him is governed by a statute which violates the right to individual liberty. In July, the Thai Attorney General's Office filed corruption charges [JURIST report] against Thaksin for his role in a 2003 resolution reducing fees paid by mobile phone companies to state telecommunications agencies. In April, Pojamarn pleaded not guilty to charges [JURIST reports] 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. Lawyers for Thaksin have been jailed [JURIST report] for attempting to bribe court officials in one of Thaksin's cases, and current Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej [BBC profile] is facing possible impeachment proceedings [JURIST report] due in part to his party's close association with Thaksin.

 

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