Former wife of ex-Thai PM freed by court

Thailand’s criminal court has overturned the 2008 conviction of the ex-wife of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra on charges of tax evasion, two weeks after his sister took power.

The court said there was insufficient evidence against Potjaman Na Pombejra and her secretary, who along with her brother were found guilty in August 2008 of evading $18 million in taxes in a case the billionaire former prime minister has said was politically motivated.

The decision is one of several that suggests a change in the attitude of the courts since Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, was sworn in as PM two weeks ago. Since then, at least 22 detained Thaksin red shirt supporters have been released on bail.

Potjaman and her brother had been sentenced to three years, while her secretary was given a two-year term. All were released on bail. Thaksin was removed in a coup in 2006 and lives abroad.