Thai Graft Body Finds No Case Against PM Yingluck

By Amy Sawitta Lefevre & Aukkarapon Niyomyat 5 April 2013

BANGKOK—A Thai anti-graft body said it had found no irregularities in an asset disclosure by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, effectively removing any question that she might have to step down, a prospect which unsettled Bangkok markets on Thursday.

“The National Anti-Corruption Commission has found no discrepancies in its initial investigations into these allegations but we will keep evidence as background for any future investigations,” Klanarong Chanthick, a member of the committee, said in a televised statement.

“The Prime Minister will be able to continue in her position as normal. There will be no impact on her political position,” he told Reuters after giving the statement.

The commission had investigated possible inconsistencies in Yingluck’s declaration of assets involving a 30 million baht ($1.02 million) loan she had given to a company run by her husband.

The benchmark SET stock index fell as much as 2.6 percent during the morning when it became clear the commission was about to hand down its decision, with some investors worried about the implications. After the ruling it rallied and at 0800 GMT it was down 0.76 percent.

Yingluck’s Puea Thai Party came to power in 2011 and the country has since enjoyed a period of relative stability after years of sporadic violence that pitted royalists and supporters of the establishment against the mostly poor supporters of Yingluck’s brother, ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

Thaksin, a billionaire former telecoms tycoon, is a divisive figure, revered by the rural and urban poor but seen as corrupt and authoritarian by the elite. He was ousted in a military coup in 2006 and now lives in self-imposed exile to escape a two-year sentence for abuse of power handed down in 2008.