Former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra was yesterday indicted over a bungled rice subsidy scheme in the latest legal move against her family that could see her jailed for up to a decade.
Thailand’s junta-stacked government is also considering launching a civil suit against Yingluck to seek US$18 billion in compensation for damages caused by the scheme introduced by her government.
The indictment comes after Yingluck was retroactively impeached last month by an assembly appointed by the junta that seized power from her elected government in May last year.
“We have indicted former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra ... for dereliction of duty” in relation to the costly rice scheme, said Chutichai Sakhakorn, a director-general at Thailand’s attorney general’s office, which filed the criminal charges.
The Thai Supreme Court is to decide whether to accept the case on March 19.
Yingluck did not attend the indictment hearing at Bangkok’s Supreme Court, but her lawyer Norawit Larlaeng said she had no plans to travel overseas amid rumors she might seek to flee the kingdom.
“She will enter the justice process,” he told reporters just before the formal charges were laid out.
Yingluck’s brother, former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has been in self-exile since 2008 to avoid being jailed for corruption after he was ousted in a 2006 coup.
Yingluck has defended the rice scheme as a necessary subsidy to help poor farmers, but it was economically disastrous and led to massive stockpiles of the grain.
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