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Last Updated: Monday, 26 March 2007, 08:44 GMT 09:44 UK
Thaksin wife charged in tax case
Pojaman Shinawatra arrives at court in Bangkok on 26 March 2007
Pojaman Shinawatra faces jail if found guilty
The wife of the former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been charged with tax evasion.

Pojaman Shinawatra was charged, along with her brother and her secretary, at Bangkok Criminal Court before being released on bail.

The case relates to the transfer of shares in 1997 in a family telecoms firm, now known as Shin Corp.

Mr Thaksin was ousted in a coup last September amid allegations of corruption, which he denied.

This is the first of dozens of investigations into the allegations, being carried out by the Thai military government, to come to court.

Protests

More than 100 police officers were deployed around the court as Pojaman Shinawatra arrived, making no comment to reporters as she entered the courtroom.

Pojaman Shinawatra and her brother are accused of avoiding paying tax in the transfer of 4.5 million shares in a firm, founded by Mr Thaksin, that became Shin Corp.

They could face jail sentences of up to 14 years as well as fines if found guilty.

Pojaman Shinawatra's brother Bhanapot Damapong has already been ordered by anti-corruption investigators to pay 546 million baht (around $17m) in back taxes over the deal.

He has argued that the shares were given to him as a gift from Pojaman Shinawatra and were therefore not subject to tax.

Pojaman Shinawatra's secretary is charged with helping to facilitate the transfer.

The charges facing the three are not related to the Thaksin family's controversial sale of its controlling stake in Shin Corp to a Singapore state investment firm in January 2006.

The tax free deal, which netted the family nearly $2bn, sparked widespread protests and calls for Mr Thaksin to resign.




SEE ALSO
Thaksin 'can return' to Thailand
22 Jan 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Thai coup leaders target Thaksin
10 Jan 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Little evidence of Thaksin graft
26 Oct 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Thaksin family 'fights tax bill'
08 Nov 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Timeline: Thailand
02 Jan 07 |  Country profiles



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