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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Court sentences Pojaman to three years in jail

Court sentences Pojaman to three years in jail

Court said Pojaman should have served as society's good example

The Criminal Court on Thursday found wife of ousted prime
minister Thaksin Shinawatra, guilty of intentionally avoiding tax
payment of Bt546 million for the transfer of 4.5 million shares of the
Shinawatra Computer and Communications' shares worth Bt738 million.

Found guilty in the same charges were her adopted brother; Bannaphot Damapong and her secretary Pennapa Honghern.

The Court sentenced Khunying Pojaman, Bannaphot to a total of three
years in jail; two years for the charges relating to the conspiracy to
evade tax and one year for giving falsified statements. Pennapa faces
two years in jail.

The Court said the three defendants had committed serious crimes and
filed false statements with the government agencies in order to avoid
paying taxes. They intended paying taxes despite that they were rich

The court ruled that the prosecution's evidence was solid and
indisputable. The three suspects were found guilty of fraud or
collaboration to evade taxes.

In addition, Pojaman and Bannapot were also found guilty of filing
false claims and presenting false evidence to the authorities with
intention to avoid paying taxes.

The court also reprimanded Pojaman in particular, saying that with
her high economic, social and political status - especially her status
as wife of the then county leader - she should have acted as good
example to society.

The Criminal Court rules out every defence
argument on the tax evasion case as insubstantial in rebutting the
prosecution evidence.

The court says the prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt
that the defendants committed a conspiracy to evade tax. The ruling
says Pojaman and Bhanapot made the shares transfer in the stock market
in order to avoid tax liabilities even though there was no real

Bhanapot admits Pojaman gave shares to him and the court finds this is not a family gift.

The ruling is addressing a key legal issue whether the three
defendants intentionally gave falsified statements to the authorities
in order to avoid tax liabilities.

The charges were from from transaction, which took place in November
1997, come under the criminal codes of Article 37 (1) (2) of the
Revenue Code. Violation of this law is punishable with a fine of
between Bt2,000 and Bt200,000 and a jail sentence of between three
months and seven years. A multiple violation of this law will result in
a jail sentence of not more than 20 years.

The Office of the Attorney General filed the suit on March 26 last
year, summoning more than 30 prosecution witnesses to testify including
Sak Korsaengruang, spokesman of the nowdefunct Assets Examination
Committee who chaired the AEC panel that probed the accusation of tax
evasion, and former Finance Ministry permanent secretary and former
directorgeneral of the Revenue Department Suparat Kawutkul.

The three defendants denied the charges and almost 20 defence witnesses testified in the case.


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