Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thai court acquits ex-wife of ousted PM Thaksin



Pojaman Shinawatra "did not have a duty to pay tax" when she sold shares in a then family-owned telecoms business to her brother, a judge at Bangkok's Criminal Court said.

Thaksin, whose sister Yingluck Shinawatra is Thailand's new prime minister after a resounding election victory in July, was deposed in a 2006 military coup and lives abroad to avoid an unrelated conviction for corruption.

Several members of the extended family faced judicial inquiries into their finances following Thaksin's ouster.

On Wednesday the appeal court acquitted all three defendants of filing false statements.

But the court upheld a tax evasion conviction and two-year sentence for Bannapot Damapong, Pojaman's brother, suspended for one year, and added a 100,000 baht fine ($3,300).

Pojaman, her brother and her secretary Kanjanapa Hongheun were convicted in July 2008 of colluding to evade tax worth 546 million baht -- about $18 million at current exchange rates -- in a 1997 transfer of shares in Shinawatra Computer and Communication, which later became Shin Corp.

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