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Sondhi loses appeal, gets 20 years in prison

Sondhi Limthongkul, founder of the Manager Media Group, arrives at the Bangkok Remand Prison yesterday.

Sondhi Limthongkul, founder of the Manager Media Group, arrives at the Bangkok Remand Prison yesterday.

The Appeals Court yesterday upheld the primary court's jail verdict against media tycoon and former yellow-shirt leader Sondhi Limthongkul, sentencing him to 20 years in jail for violating the Securities and Exchange Act.

Sondhi has been detained at Bangkok Remand Prison.

His lawyer submitted a Bt10-million bail application as he planned to appeal to the Supreme Court. A decision on the application is expected to be made late next week.

Initial sentence was 85 years

The Court of Appeal actually sentenced him to 85 years in jail. It was accumulated punishment for 17 counts, each with a five-year prison sentence.

However his jail sentence was reduced to 20 years to meet the legal limit for a prison term. The jail term would be added to the two years suspended punishment for libel in three other cases.

Sondhi was accused of falsifying documents that were used as collateral for a Bt1-billion loan for his media empire, the Manager Media Group.

In its verdict, the court stated that Sondhi and three other Manager Media Group board members from 1996-1998 falsified a loan guarantee document to get the Krungthai Bank loan for a private company in which Sondhi was the majority shareholder.

It said the other board members were not aware of the fraud and did not give their approval.

The court also ruled that Sondhi and the three board members committed accounting fraud by not including the company's status as the loan guarantor in its financial report, which misled investors.






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