Ex-PM's arrest ordered for failure to appear in suspect-loans case
The Supreme Court yesterday issued an arrest warrant against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra for not being present to hear the court’s decision to proceed with the Krung Thai Bank loan scandal case.
Thaksin, the first defendant in the case, is accused of collaborating with 26 others to have the state-owned bank approve loans for firms under the Krisda Mahanakorn Group. The 26 other defendants include the bank’s then-managing director Viroj Nualkair, who appeared in court yesterday to hear the decision. The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Office has set the next hearing on January 25, when it will listen to the defendants and public prosecutors verify the evidence. The case against Thaksin will be suspended pending arrest.
The court reasoned yesterday that Thaksin had been informed of the schedule, but since he refused to turn up he would be regarded as fleeing. Thaksin’s legal adviser Noppadon Pattama said yesterday that Thaksin refused to accept anything resulting from the 2006 military coup or any cases that were investigated by the Assets Examination Committee. Thaksin insists that he was never involved in the approval of the Krung Thai loans and did not believe there was any evidence linking him to it.
“Will taking legal action against Thaksin on cases taken up after the military coup bring about reconciliation? Thaksin should receive justice under the normal legal process, not what has resulted from the coup,” Noppadon said.
The case was first investigated by the AEC, which had been set up by the coup-makers in 2006.
The main prosecution claim in the case is that Thaksin abused his office to influence the bank’s decision to grant loans to real-estate developer Krisda Mahanakorn despite the company’s poor credit rating.
The case will focus on three transactions worth more than Bt10 billion in total. All the transactions took place during Thaksin’s time as premier.
Yesterday’s arrest warrant is the sixth warrant faced by Thaksin since he fled the country ahead of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Ratchadapisek land case in 2008.
The first arrest warrant was issued by Supreme Court, when Thaksin failed to attend the first hearing in the Export-Import Bank case on September 16, 2008.
The second and the third warrants were also issued by the Supreme Court in the same year for failing to attend the first hearings for the two- and three-digit lotteries and the telecommunication excise tax cases respectively.
The fourth warrant was issued by the Supreme Court on October 21, 2008, when Thaksin was sentenced to two years in jail for abusing power to facilitate a deal for his then-wife Pojaman na Pombejra allowing her to buy a Ratchadapisek land plot worth Bt772 million from the state.
The fifth warrant came from the Criminal Court on May 25, 2010, over terrorism charges. The court has yet to hear from the plaintiff’s witnesses.