Yingluck not travelling overseas to escape prosecution: lawyer
July 18, 2014 00:00 By Natthapat Phromkaew,
Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra's overseas trip is not intended to escape the legal cases against her stemming from the ousted government's rice price-pledging scheme, her lawyer said yesterday.
Norawit Lalaeng, who is Yingluck’s lawyer, said the ex-PM had “full fighting spirit” and is confident of her innocence. “She has no intention of escaping the cases. This overseas trip is really for her to take a rest,” he said. “She worked with no vacation for over two years. It’s a rumour that she is going to escape and live overseas.” Norawit was responding to speculation that Yingluck would not return to Thailand, after the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) gave her permission to leave the country. He said the junta had allowed Yingluck, accompanied by her son Supasek Amornchat, to leave the country.
A source close to Yingluck said she had sent a letter to NCPO chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha on Wednesday, seeking permission to go on a vacation with her son. She would leave Thailand on Tuesday and the trip would last 10 to 15 days.
Yingluck’s itinerary covers France, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The source said Prayuth gave permission without any condition. However, a military source told Agence France-Presse that Yingluck must inform the authorities of her whereabouts through the Thai embassies overseas in those countries while travelling.
The source said she would also meet her brother, exiled former premier Thaksin Shinawtara, in Paris for his 65th birthday on July 26.
Yingluck faces 32 cases. Some involve an investigation while others are at the fact-finding stage.
Among the key cases are the Bt350-billion water management scheme, the Bt2-trillion loan for infrastructure projects, alleged corruption in the rice-pledging scheme, alleged concealment of assets, and an impeachment case related to the rice scheme.
NCPO deputy spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvari said yesterday that the junta had approved Yingluck’s request for the overseas trip because she had never acted in a way that violated or defied its conditions and orders prohibiting her from making any political move or leaving the country without permission.
He added that she had fully cooperated with the NCPO.
The spokesman said the NCPO’s working committee in charge of considering the vacation request had given Yingluck the green light to travel overseas.
Recently, the National Anti-Corruption Commission disclosed that Yingluck’s wealth had increased by Bt33 million while she was in office.
As of May 7, when she was disqualified from office following a Constitutional Court ruling, she had assets worth Bt601 million and Bt28 million debt. Most of her wealth is from stocks she holds in many companies.