BANGKOK – Thailand’s Supreme Court sentenced former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to eight years in prison today after his return to the kingdom from a15-year self-imposed exile.
The sentences were passed on him in absentia, the court said in a statement.
Thaksin was sentenced to three years in prison for approving a loan from the Export-Import Bank of Thailand (EXIM Bank) to the Myanmar government for a telecommunications project.
He was sentenced to two years in prison for miscounting the results of a government lottery scheme and another five years in prison for altering contracts for his company, SHIN Corp, to give the company an unfair advantage.
The sentences were reduced to eight years due to concurrent terms.
The 74-year-old Thaksin was later taken to the Bangkok Remand Prison.
Meanwhile, a crowd of Thaksin’s supporters gathered outside the Bangkok Remand Prison, eager to catch a glimpse of the former prime minister.
Earlier today, Thaksin set foot on Thai soil for the first time since 2008 after arriving at the private jet terminal of Don Muang International Airport shortly after 9am (local time).
His daughter, Paetongtarn, who is one of Pheu Thai Party’s three prime ministerial candidates posted images on Facebook of Thaksin with his family members and his seven grandchildren.
“Welcome back to Thailand daddy.
“Dad has returned to Thailand and he has entered the necessary legal process,” she wrote.
Thaksin’s return coincides with Thailand’s bicameral vote for a new prime minister on Tuesday, three months after the May 14 General Election.
Pheu Thai Party, a party linked to Thaksin, is leading an 11-party coalition, including two parties backed by the military in a bid to form the next government and end the pollical gridlock after the May 14 General Election. – BERNAMA