Former Thai PM to Face Criminal Corruption Charge

Former Thai PM to Face Criminal Corruption Charge

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Former Thai premier Yingluck Shinawatra will be indicted on a criminal corruption charge over her controversial rice subsidy scheme, a senior prosecutor said Friday, a prospect that could see her jailed for up to ten years.

"The Attorney General's Office has considered witnesses and evidence submitted by the working team along with all witnesses and evidence from the National Anti-Corruption Committee and we agree that the case substantiates a criminal indictment charge against Yingluck," Surasak Threerattrakul, Director-General of the Office of the Attorney General, said.

Yingluck, the kingdom's first female premier and the sister of former leader Thaksin Shinawatra, is already facing an impeachment vote later Friday over her administration's populist rice subsidy program, which funneled cash to her rural base but cost billions of dollars and inspired protests that felled her government.

If found guilty by the junta-stacked parliament hearing her impeachment case, she faces a five-year ban from politics -- a move that already risks reigniting the country's bitter divisions, AFP reported.

Prosecutors had spent months deciding whether she should also face separate criminal corruption charges over the scheme which purchased rice from farmers at around twice the market rate -- a policy that has led to huge unsold stockpiles as regional competitors undercut Thailand's exports.

Surasak said the indictment is expected in early March.

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