The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions on Wednesday issued a warrant for the arrest of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra after he failed to appear for the first hearing in a corruption case in connection with a 4-billion-baht loan to Myanmar.
Thaksin is accused of abuses of power by ordering the Export-Import Bank of Thailand in 2006 to increase a 3-billion-baht loan to 4 billion so that Myanmar’s then-ruling junta could buy services from a Shinawatra-run company, Shin Satellite.
The proceedings of the case were temporarily suspended by the Supreme Court in 2008 on the ground that Thaksin had fled the country.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) asked the court to renew the case after the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) in 2017 passed an organic law on criminal procedures for holders of political offices. A critical point in the law is that the statute of limitations will not expire as long as the accused is on the run and that the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions can order a trial to proceed in absentia.
The Supreme Court subsequently agreed to renew the case and scheduled the first hearing for Wednesday. Thaksin, however, failed to show up without notice.
The court then resolved to issue a warrant for the arrest of the former prime minister. The public prosecutors have been instructed to execute the arrest warrant and report to the court every month.
The court also scheduled Oct 31 for a pre-trial examination of evidence in the case.
This is the fourth warrant issued for Thaksin’s arrest after the NLA passed the law for a trial to proceed against the defendant on the run in absentia.