One-time Thai media magnate gets 20 years jail

Former leader of Yellow Shirts movement and long time opponent of Thaksin Shinawatra loses appeal, imprisoned for fraud

One-time Thai media magnate gets 20 years jail

World Bulletin / News Desk

A former leader of Thailand's ultra-royalist Yellow Shirts movement and long time opponent of the family of junta nemesis Thaksin Shinawatra has lost his appeal against a fraud case involving his media outfit and been sentenced to 20 years jail.

Sondhi Limthongkul, founder and CEO of the Manager Group, was one of a series of high profile leaders who repeatedly paralyzed Thailand and led it into a near-decade of political turmoil with massive street demonstrations between 2006 and the military coup of May 2014.

The Thai Supreme court confirmed an appeal court judgment Tuesday by stating that Limthongkul had created a fraudulent report in 1997 in order for his company to guarantee a 1 billion baht loan ($400,000 at the time) for another company in which he had a stake, reported news portal Khaosod Tuesday.

The court rejected the claim of good faith by the defendant, saying he had used the fraudulent report six times.

Limthongkul, formerly one of the most powerful media tycoons in the kingdom, was driven directly in a van to a Bangkok prison.

Along with three other company executives, Limthongkul had been previously sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2012, but had been fighting through the appeals process.

Limthongkul came to fame at the beginning of 2006 when he led massive demonstrations against former ally and then-prime minister, telecommunication tycoon Shinawatra.

The fervently royalist Yellow Shirts -- named after the symbolic color of King Bhumibol Adulyadej -- are staunch adversaries of the Shinawatra political clan.

Their demonstrations led to the September 2006 coup, which overthrew the Shinawatra government.

Shinawatra was subsequently sentenced for abuse of power and has since been living in exile in Dubai.

Limthongkul reappeared at the end of 2008 when he led his Yellow Shirts cohorts to occupy and paralyze Bangkok International airport for eight days in order to oppose then Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, a brother-in-law of Thaksin.

After eight days of airport occupation, the constitutional court banned Wongsawat from office for electoral fraud, opening the way for politician Abhisit Vejjajiva, another Thaksin adversary, to form a new government after being voted as the new premier by the lower house.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Eylül 2016, 15:46