6 June 2024

The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders issued a warrant for the arrest of exiled former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra today (Tuesday), after she failed to appear for a hearing in a corruption case concerning a roadshow project.

Yingluck, former deputy prime minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan and former secretary-general of the prime minister’s office Suranand Vejjajiva are accused of helping Matichon Plc, Siam Sport Syndicate Plc and its managing director Ravi Lohthong to win a contract to hold a roadshow without a proper bidding process.

The roadshow included exhibitions, seminars and other activities to promote the “Thailand 2020” project. The charges allege that the corruption occurred between August 2013 and March 2014.

Yingluck did not attend the hearing, but she was represented by her lawyer, Noppadon Laothong. All five co-defendants and, on Yingluck’s behalf, her lawyer pled not guilty and asked the court to allow them until September 12th to submit their testimonies.

The court then issued an arrest warrant for the former prime minister and instructed the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to endeavour to bring her to the court for trial. The court also granted permission for Ravi not to attend future hearings due to his advancing years.

Yingluck is currently living in exile in Dubai with her brother Thaksin, also a former prime minister, following a military coup in 2014 which toppled her government.