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Thailand's top court clears ex-PM Yingluck in graft case

AFP . Bangkok
04 Mar 2024 17:24:35 | Update: 04 Mar 2024 17:25:07
Thailand's top court clears ex-PM Yingluck in graft case
— AFP File Photo

Thailand's Supreme Court on Monday cleared former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of corruption in awarding a government contract during her time in office.

Yingluck, who ruled from 2011 until she was ousted in a 2014 military coup, was charged with malfeasance in a 2013 project worth over $6.7 million (240 million Baht).

The ruling is the latest legal success for the powerful Shinawatra family after Yingluck's brother Thaksin -- a two-time premier also ousted in a coup -- was freed on parole in February, six months into what was originally an eight-year prison sentence.

Yingluck and five others were accused of not running a proper bidding process to run the "Roadshow to Build the Future of Thailand", a campaign to promote her government's infrastructure projects.

Nine judges sitting in the kingdom's top court ruled unanimously in favour of the former premier, saying they "found no intention" to benefit the two major media outlets which won the contract, according to a statement.

"The project was done according to the regulations," the court statement said.

Yingluck, who has lived in self-imposed exile since 2017 to avoid a conviction in another case, was not present at the court but was represented by her lawyer.

"We received the mercy from the court to dismiss the case," fellow defendant Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan, a former deputy PM, told reporters outside of court.

"We are not corrupt," he added.

Yingluck was sentenced in 2017 to five years in prison in a graft case related to a rice-pledging scheme for farmers in 2011.

She still faces six more cases over alleged graft during her premiership.