Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Supreme Court gives 2 years jail sentence to ex-minister Benja, 4 others

Dec 26. 2019
Benja Louichareon
Benja Louichareon
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By THE NATION

The Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s verdict but reduced the jail term of five defendants to two years unsuspended instead of the 3 years given by the Appeal Court.

On Thursday (December 26) the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases read the Supreme Court’s ruling on the case that saw the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NCAA) suing Benja Louichareon, a former deputy finance minister, and four other persons for abusing their authority to help Panthongtae and Pinthongta Shinawatra, the children of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, evade income taxes on their sale of Shin Corp shares in 2006 valued at approximately Bt7.9 billion each.

The Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s verdict but reduced the jail term of five defendants to two years unsuspended instead of the 3 years given by the Appeal Court.

Benja was a deputy finance minister and deputy director of Revenue Department during Yingluck’s administration. The other 4 defendants are Jamras Yaemsoithong, Moleerat Boonyasiri and Krit Wipulanusas from the Revenue Department's legal affairs office, and Pranee Wetprugpitak, a personal secretary to Khun Ying Potjaman Na Pombejra, former wife of Thaksin.

On December 3, 2015 they were sued for violation of Section 157 of Criminal Code: Abusing their authority resulting in evasion or underpayment of taxes. In 2006 Panthongtae and Pinthongta Shinawatra each bought 164,600,000 shares of Shin Corporation at the par price of Bt1 per share and sold them at market price of Bt49.25 per share. According to Section 39 of Revenue Code, the sellers must pay tax on the difference in share prices, which in this case stacks up to almost Bt8 billion each.

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