Former Thai minister jailed for 42 years for falsifying rice deals with China

Yingluck's former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom who is accused of falsifying government-to-government rice deals arrives at the Supreme Court in Bangkok, Thailand, August 25, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK (Reuters) - A Bangkok court sentenced a former Thai commerce minister to 42 years in jail on Friday after finding him guilty of falsifying government-to-government rice deals between Thailand and China.

The verdict in the case against Boonsong Teriyapirom comes hours after former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra failed to show up at the Supreme Court for the verdict in a negligence case brought against her over the same rice scheme which her government introduced in 2011.

Sources close to Yingluck, who was ousted by a military coup in 2014, said on Friday that the former prime minister had fled Thailand. The Supreme Court on Friday issued an arrest warrant for Yingluck.

“Boonsong is sentenced to 42 years in prison,” a judge said, handing down the verdict.

Thailand’s anti-graft commission said the deals announced by Boonsong had caused “huge losses” to the state and that rice was sold locally and not exported, as claimed by Yingluck’s government.

Reporting by Pracha Hariraksapitak; Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre & Simon Cameron-Moore