21 May 2024

A panel of nine Supreme Court judges today upheld the acquittal, delivered by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders on fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, in connection with the rehabilitation plan for the financially-troubled Thai Petrochemical Industry (TPI) about 16 years ago.

Thaksin was charged in absentia with malfeasance in office by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) for appointing the Finance Ministry to administer a rehabilitation plan, to prevent TPI going bankrupt after its foreign debts ballooned from 65Bn to 130Bn baht following the devaluation of the baht currency in 1997.  The NACC claimed that the Finance Ministry had no authority to run the private firm, TPI, which has now been renamed IRPC.

The panel of judges, which serves as the court of appeal for cases tried by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders, overruled the NACC’s submission, that the Finance Ministry has no authority to administer TPI, on the grounds its bankruptcy would badly affect many people if it was not administered by the Finance Ministry.

The panel also pointed out that the creditors and the company itself agreed with the Finance Ministry’s interjection in an attempt to rescue the company, adding that there was no evidence to prove that Thaksin would benefit personally from the rehabilitation plan.

As such, the panel of judges rejected the NACC’s appeal and upheld the acquittal.

Only representatives of the NACC were present at the Supreme Court for the reading of the decision.  Even without any representatives, it is assumed that the decision has been acknowledged by the fugitive former prime minister after its reading.