2 Aug 2008

Wife of former PM sentenced for tax fraud

6:37 am on 2 August 2008

A Thai court has sentenced the wife of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to three years in prison after finding her guilty of tax fraud.

Potjaman Shinawatra, 51, or "The Mistress", as she is often known, stood emotionless as the verdict was delivered on Thursday.

The ABC reports it is the first of a series of legal cases against Mr Thaksin's inner circle after a coup in 2006.

Mr Thaksin was in court for the ruling, which was also televised.

Potjaman, her brother Bannapot Damapong, and her secretary were charged with colluding to evade tax worth 546 million baht ($US16.3 million) in 1997.

They were freed on bail of 5 million baht each and a family spokesman said they would appeal.