Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra fled Thailand for Dubai two days before a verdict was due to be delivered in a trial over the rice-pledging scheme, a highly placed source in her Pheu Thai party told CNN on Friday.
Yingluck left Thailand on Wednesday and is now "safe and sound" in Dubai, the source told the US broadcaster.
An arrest warrant was issued for Yingluck by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions on Friday after she failed to turn up for the verdict reading in the negligence case against her. The case was related to her former government’s controversial rice-pledging scheme.
The court postponed the verdict reading to September 27 and ordered the seizure of Yingluck’s Bt30-million bail.
Yingluck's brother Thaksin, who is also a former prime minister and also toppled by a military coup, lives in Dubai and London in self-imposed exile to avoid abuse-of-power charges.
The deputy national police chief told CNN that there was no official record of Yingluck leaving the country, which would suggest she first slipped into a neighbouring nation by crossing through a land border.
Asked if it was possible she fled via a natural land border, Pol General Srivara Rangsibhramanakul would only say: “That is possible.”