Abuse-of-power trial starts against former Thai premier

April 29th, 2008 - 10:00 pm ICT by admin  

Bangkok, April 29 (Xinhua) Thailand’s Supreme Court Tuesday started trial of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife Pojaman for illegally purchasing a plot at a government auction five years ago. Thaksin did not appear in the court but was represented by his wife, the Nation news network reported.

The couple are charged of breaching anti-corruption laws, which bar state officials and their spouses from doing business with a state agency.

If convicted, they could face an imprisonment of up to 10 years and a fine of 20,000 baht ($600) for malfeasance under the Criminal Procedures Code.

However, Pojaman told the court that she and her husband were innocent.

For the first time, criminal charges have ever been filed against a former premier in the kingdom. On June 21 last year, prosecutors filed corruption charges against the couple in the Supreme Court.

The office of the Attorney General’s working group ruled that the land near Ratchadapisek Road in Bangkok which changed hands from the Financial Institutions Development Fund to Thaksin’s wife, could have raised as much as 2.1 billion baht ($61.8 million).

But, the property was sold for just 772 million baht ($22.7 million), only one-third of the market value when the purchase was made.

The Attorney General’s office has suggested that the five-hectare land should be confiscated by an order of the Supreme Court.

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