Pojaman, brother, secretary in court for tax-evasion case
Charged with evading Bt546 million on 1997 share deal; children also attend
The wife of the former prime minister, Pojaman Shinawatra, her brother and secretary appeared in the Criminal Court yesterday to plead not guilty to charges of tax evasion in regard to a stock deal.
Pojaman's children Panthongtae, Pinthongta and Paethongtarn accompanied their mother to give morale support. However, the three accused may not appear often as the court has allowed the trial to proceed without them being present, as they had requested.
The Shinawatra family's lawyer Noppadon Pattama said the three told the court they had businesses to take care of.
Khunying Pojaman, her brother Bhanapot Damapong and her secretary Kanchanapa Honghern have been charged by public prosecutors with evading Bt546 million in tax in connection with the 1997 sale of Shinawatra Computer and Communications shares. The court accepted the case in late March.
The court has postponed the receipt of documentary evidence until May 25 as the defendants said they were unable to get it assembled in time.
Noppadon said the court had stressed that they should not give media interviews about the case.
Pojaman apologised to well-wishers for not accepting flowers by herself, Noppadon said. Thaksin, he said, had instructed him to try his best to prove the defendants' innocence according to the law.
In a separate case, a fact-finding panel at the Assets Examination Committee (AEC) suggested indicting Thaksin and Pojaman in regard to the purchase of a prime block on Ratchadapisek.
Noppadon said they had prepared a defence team headed by Pichit Chuenban. However, it was still uncertain whether the case would go to court.
Thaksin had the right to defend himself according to the law. So he might return to the country to do that, Noppadon said.
The former PM said he would do nothing to pressure the court. So the Council for National Security (CNS) had no right to detain Thaksin if he came back, Noppadon claimed.
In regard to alleged tax evasion in relation to the Shin Corp share sale and Ample Rich Investments, Panthongtae and Pinthongta would let their lawyer represent them and testify to the Revenue Department on May 30, Noppadon said. However, the department had not informed them yet of the calculated tax amount for the case.