BANGKOK (AP) — Thais are anxiously awaiting a Supreme Court verdict on charges accusing former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra of being criminally negligent in implementing a rice subsidy program estimated to have cost the government as much as $17 billion and could now cost her 10 years in prison.
The subsidy helped Yingluck’s party win the 2011 election. The government paid Thai farmers more than they would have received on the world market, with the intention of driving up prices. Instead, other rice producers captured the market, and Thailand lost its status as the top rice exporter.
The verdict is generally seen as a political judgment as much as a criminal one. The case against Yingluck is the latest against the political machine founded and directed by her brother.
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