Sept. 27 (UPI) — Thailand’s Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Wednesday to sentence former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra — in absentia — to five years in prison.
The former leader was sentenced for failing to report false and corrupt government-to-government sales in a rice-pledging scheme. Yingluck was found to have had knowledge of the corruption after she removed a former commerce minister after questions arose about rice dealings with Chinese enterprises.
Yingluck failed to stop the rice deliveries, a violation of the Thai criminal code and anti-corruption laws.
The court noted that Chinese state enterprises, including an import-export company, were able to benefit from the dishonest rice dealings.
Officials had warned her about potential losses in the rice-scheme, which ultimately accumulated to nearly $10 billion.
Yingluck was not blamed for all corrupt dealings because some responsibilities in the scheme, including false reports on pledged rice, were done by other officials.
The court announced the ruling in Yingluck’s absentia after she failed to show up to the original sentencing last month. She may not serve any prison time, though, as she is believed to have fled the country.