Thailand's ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra sentenced to two years after being found guilty of conflict of interest.
Thaksin found guilty
BANGKOK // Thailand's Supreme Court found the ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra guilty of conflict of interest today in connection with a land deal for his wife and sentenced him in absentia to two years in prison. Thaksin was, however, cleared of more serious charges of abusing his powers to obtain the cut-price deal. "Thaksin had violated the article of the constitution on conflict of interest, as he was then prime minister and head of government who was supposed to work for the benefit of the public," a judge said, reading the verdict. "He is sentenced to two years in jail." Thaksin responded by saying his conviction is politically motivated. Thaksin told reporters that the conviction was "a carry-forward of the coup d'etat" against him. Thaksin's wife Ms Pojaman was cleared of all charges, and the court said they would not seize the land or money connected to the 2003 deal. Neither of the pair were in court to hear the verdicts, having fled Thailand for Britain in August claiming they would not get a fair trial on the graft charges mounting against them. Thaksin, a telecoms tycoon who became the first Thai prime minister to complete his first term and be re-elected, was ousted in a military coup in September 2006. The junta claimed there was massive corruption and abuse of power under his rule and set up a corruption investigation unit, which has stacked the charges up against Thaksin and his family. *AFP / AP