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Arrest warrant issued for Yingluck as ex-Thai PM misses court appointment

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Former Thai prime ministers Thaksin Shinawatra (left) and his sister Yingluck Shinawatra smile as they attend a social event in Tokyo in 2018. AFP

Arrest warrant issued for Yingluck as ex-Thai PM misses court appointment

The Thai Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders on Tuesday issued an arrest warrant for former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra after she failed to show up at 9:30am on Tuesday for the court’s reading of charges in a case filed by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

On January 28, the NACC filed a lawsuit against Yingluck Shinawatra, two newspapers, and three others over alleged corruption in the Thailand 2020 Roadshow project. The lawsuit named Yingluck, former deputy PM Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan, former PM’s secretary-general Suranand Vejjajiva, Matichon Plc, Siam Sport Syndicate Plc, and Rawi Lothong, managing director of Siam Sport, as the first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth defendants respectively.

The lawsuit alleged that from August 2013 to March 2014, Yingluck and the five other defendants had caused damages of 239.7 million baht to the country by approving the Thailand 2020 Roadshow project to the two publications without properly inviting bids for the project.

With the exception of Yingluck, the other five defendants showed up at the court on Tuesday as the court ruled that it had accepted the NACC’s case and then subsequently read the charges to the defendants. Yingluck’s attorney Noppadon Laothong, however, was present in the court on Tuesday on her behalf.

The court issued an arrest warrant for Yingluck for failing to show up for the reading of the charges without giving a reason, and ordered the NACC to bring her in for the trial.

After the court had read the charges, all five defendants denied the charges and appealed to extend the period of giving a testimony. The court accepted their appeal and set the next hearing for 9.30am on September 12 for evidence and witness cross-examination. The court, however, exempted Rawi from coming for the cross-examination as the defendant is 80 years old and suffers from a chronic disease.

THE NATION (THAILAND)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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