11 July 2024

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam admitted this morning that former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will be spared the two-year jail handed down on him in connection with the Ratchadapisek land scandal 10 years ago after the statute of limitations of the case expires on October 21.

Thaksin has been in self-exile since leaving the country in 2008 and efforts by Thai authorities to have him extradited to face imprisonment have been futile.

“The benefits go to the defendant,” Wissanu said when asked by reporters if Thaksin will walk free once the statute of limitations expires on October 21.

The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions on October 21 2008  sentenced Thaksin to two years in jail after finding him guilty of abusing his authority while in office to facilitate his wife Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra’s purchase of 33 rai of land on Thiam Ruam Mit Road in the Ratchadaphisek area from the Bank of Thailand’s Financial Institutions Development Fund  in 2003.

Thaksin, who later divorced his wife, was toppled in a military coup in 2006 while on an overseas trip.  He returned to Thailand in 2008 but fled the country shortly before the court ruled on the land case.