Pattaya Daily News

31 July 2008 :: 15:07:58 pm 28434

Thaksin’s Wife Given 3-Year Jail Term

Khunying Potjaman Shinawatra, wife of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, and her step-brother, Bannapot Damapong, were today, Jul 31, 2008, sentenced to three years in jail for evading millions of dollars in taxes.
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In the first of a series of several corruption lawsuits against Thaksin, the outcome of this trial sets a dangerous precedent. Only two days ago, three ex-members of Thakin’s government, the present the present finance minister Surapong Suebwonglee, labour minister Uraiwan Thienthong and deputy transport minister Anurak Jureemas were cited in the lottery scandal lawsuit.

Khunying Potjaman’s secretary Karnchanapa Honghern was also given a two-year jail for her part in the tax evasion, which attempted to avoid paying Bt546 million’s worth of taxes on the share transfer of Bt738 million in Shinawatra Computer and Communication. All three of the accused had pled innocent.

“The three defendants have high economic and social status,” said Judge Pramote Pipatpramote, adding they should have aspired to set an example for society. “But, they were working together to avoid taxes, even though the taxes amounted to little compared to their assets.”

The ex-first lady apparently looked stunned as the judge handed down the verdict. However, she was released on $149,000 bail and walked out of the Bangkok Criminal Court with her family to get into a waiting car. They have the right to appeal within 30 days.

In reaction to the verdict, Thaksin’s spokesman, Pongthep Thepkanjana, reported that lawyers planned to appeal. He further stated that Thaksin was not downhearted and plans to ” fight until the end.”

 

Thaksin’s fortunes have plummeted since the 2006 coup. Now, instead of being Thailand’s fourth-richest billionaire, as he was in 2006, prior to the coup, he is now only ranked as the 16th richest in the land, with a mere $400 million!

Thakin’s popularity hardly seems depleted, however, despite the claims of massive corruption and abuse of power laid against him during his two terms in power, as 1,000 supporters waited outside the court and mobbed the family when they emerged.

Thaksin currently has four outstanding corruption cases pending, with two others against his wife, and three cases against two of his children. Many other members of his clique are under investigation for alleged corruption and kindred offences.

 

 

 

 
Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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