Yingluck may have fled Thailand before ruling, minister says

Judges to decide ex-PM Yingluck's fate tomorrow

Judges to decide ex-PM Yingluck's fate tomorrow

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.

Former Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra has fled overseas, sources say, ahead of a verdict in her trial over a rice subsidy scheme.

Norrawit Larlaeng, Yingluck's lawyer, confirmed a warrant had been issued but said he had no details on her whereabouts.

Thailand's former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has fled from Thailand to Dubai, U.S. news channel CNN reported Friday.

If Ms Yingluck has joined her billionaire brother Thaksin in self-exile it would be a knock-out blow to the Shinawatra family and their political ambitions.

But the judge said the court did not believe the excuse because no official medical verification was provided, and the court would issue a warrant for her arrest as a result. She could face 10 years in prison if convicted in the case, which she has called politically motivated.

Yingluck on Thursday had urged her supporters to avoid thronging the court complex in Bangkok, as General Prayuth Chan-Ocha's military administration stepped up security to avert unrest.

"I think that she learned very fast and adapted herself very well. she is very determined to do her duty", Chaturon Chaisang, a veteran politician and former cabinet minister in her toppled government told AFP earlier this week.

Ms Yingluck's lawyer had requested a delay in the ruling, telling the Supreme Court that she had vertigo and a severe headache and was unable to attend.

Sources close to both the Shinawatras and the military have told the Nikkei Asian Review that she is now outside the country, possibly in Singapore.

However, it is a poorly-concealed secret that some in the military government would have been happy to see her leave the country before the verdict.

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Her whereabouts are now unknown, but there have been widespread rumors that she has left the country and there has been speculation that she is in Singapore.

The former businesswoman drew hordes of supporters whenever she toured her electoral heartlands, taking endless selfies and being showered with red roses.

Ms Yingluck posted $900,000 (£703,000) bail at the beginning of her trial.

Supporters of former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra dance outside the Supreme Court in Bangkok on August 25, 2017.

The scheme in which farmers were paid up to twice the market rate for their crops allegedly benefitted many of her supporters. She has insisted she is a victim of political persecution.

When Yingluck's government proposed an amnesty in 2013 that could have absolved her brother and allowed him to return without being arrested, street protests erupted that eventually led to her government's demise in the 2014 coup.

In a separate administrative ruling that froze her bank accounts, Yingluck was held responsible for about $1 billion of those losses - an astounding personal penalty that prosecutors argued Yingluck deserved because she ignored warnings of corruption but continued the program anyway.

Her brother, Taksin, had also been ousted from power by the military in 2006.

He is believed to use a Montenegrin passport to travel between homes in Dubai, London, Hong Kong and Singapore. "Now the people have to fight for themselves".

He remains loathed by the Bangkok royalist elite but cherished by the rural poor.

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