Thailand’s Supreme Court yesterday issued another arrest warrant for ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra for his approval of a controversial loan to military-ruled Myanmar.
The court said it would not begin hearing the case until Thaksin returns from his self-imposed exile in Britain, where he fled to avoid prosecution for this and other charges that he says are politically motivated.
“Today is the first hearing and the defendant failed to appear even though he has received a summons,” judge Panya Suthibodi said.
“The court has ordered an arrest warrant for him. Because we don’t know when the defendant will come back, the case will be temporarily suspended from the court’s caselist,” he added.
Investigators say that Thaksin wrongly ordered the Exim Bank to increase a 3 billion baht (US$89.6 million) loan to 4 billion baht, so that Myanmar’s ruling junta could buy more services from ShinSat.
ShinSat is part of the Shin Corp telecom firm, which Thaksin founded. His family sold the company to Singapore’s state-linked Temasek Holdings in January 2006 in a tax-free deal that prompted street protests leading to the military coup against him.
The court had already issued an arrest warrant for Thaksin and his wife, Pojaman, last month after they both skipped bail and fled to Britain to avoid corruption charges in a property scandal.
The pair were accused of using Thaksin’s political influence to win a bargain-priced property deal for Pojaman.
The court is expected to hand down its verdict in that case today.
Pojaman has separately been convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to three years in jail.
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