In a politically-loaded ruling, the Thai Criminal Court on 31 July has sentenced the wife of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, to a total of three years in jail. The decision comes amidst a flurry of cases involving Thaksin and those closest to him.
Pojamon Shinawatra was found guilty of intentionally avoiding tax payment of Bt546 million (US$16.3M) for the 1997 transfer of 4.5 million shares of the Shinawatra Computer and Communications. She was sentenced to two years for the charges relating to the conspiracy to evade tax and one year for giving falsified statements.
Found guilty in the same charges were her adopted brother; Bannaphot Damapong and her secretary. Bannapot was also sentenced to three years in jail and the secretary to two years
The court reprimanded Pojaman in particular, saying that with her high economic, social and political status - especially her status as wife of the then premier - she should have acted as a good example to society.
The Office of the Attorney General filed the suit on March 26 last year, summoning more than 30 prosecution witnesses to testify.
Pojaman, who managed Thaksin's billion-dollar fortune and ran his business empire when he was prime minister between 2001 to 2006, is expected to appeal the ruling.
The court's verdict could pave the way for similar guilty rulings against Thaksin who faces at least three cases of malfeasance and abuse of power at the Supreme Court for Political Office Holders in the coming months.
Source: The Nation, 31 July, Court sentences Pojaman to three years in jail
The Bangkok Post, 31 July, Court finds Thaksin wife guilty of tax evasion, http://www.bangkokpost.com/topstories/topstories.php?id=129171