Thai Ex-Premier Faces Criminal Charges Ahead of Impeachment Decision

Former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra speaking to National Legislative Assembly (NLA) during impeachment proceedings against her, Jan 2015.

By Cod Satrusayang

BANGKOK (DPA) — Former Thai premier Yingluck Shinawatra was to face criminal charges stemming from corruption allegations, officials said Friday.

The attorney general will pursue the charges before the country's Supreme Court, a representative told reporters.

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Yingluck Shinawatra answers to the questions of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) during impeachment proceedings against her, at Parliament House in Bangkok, Thailand, 22 January 2015.  EPA/NARONG SANGNAK

If found guilty of the criminal charges, Yingluck could face up to 10 years in prison, the spokesman for the attorney general's office said.

The move comes hours ahead of a scheduled announcement over her possible impeachment by Thailand's military-appointed legislature over a rice subsidy scheme.

Yingluck is accused of dereliction of duty in her government's rice-pledging scheme, which the anti-corruption agency said cost the country 4 billion dollars in waste and fraud.

If found guilty on that front, Yingluck would face a five-year ban from politics and a retroactive impeachment.

In Thursday's final hearing before the decision, Yingluck denied all charges against her.

She was removed from office in May 2014 by the Constitutional Court after months of street demonstrations, including by farmers who had not been paid under the rice scheme.

The rest of her government was ousted later that month by a military coup that installed the current legislature and cabinet.

 

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