Thai ex-PM Yingluck Shinawatra indicted over rice subsidy scheme

19 February 2015 - 41   - 0

BANGKOK (AFP): Former Thai premier Yingluck Shinawatra was formally indicted over a bungled rice subsidy scheme Thursday in the latest legal move against her polarising family that could see her jailed for up to a decade.

Thailand's junta-stacked government is also considering launching a civil suit against the nation's first female prime minister to seek $18 billion in compensation for damages caused by the scheme which her government introduced.

The indictment comes after Yingluluck, sister of fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, was retroactively impeached last month by an assembly appointed by the junta which seized power from her elected government last May. 

"Today we have indicted former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra... for dereliction of duty" in relation to the costly rice scheme, said Chutichai Sakhakorn, director-general of the special litigation department at the Office of the Attorney General. 

The Supreme Court will decide whether or not to accept the case on March 19. 

The ousted premier has been banned from leaving the country since authorities announced she would face criminal charges over the populist scheme on the same day she was impeached, a move carrying an automatic five-year ban from politics. 

Yingluck did not attend the indictment at Bangkok's Supreme Court but her lawyer Norawit Larlaeng said she had no plans to travel overseas after rumours she might seek to flee the kingdom.

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