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TV news anchor Sorrayuth sent to prison for 8 years

Former TV news anchor Sorrayuth Suthassanachinda lost his final appeal and the Supreme Court sent him to prison for eight years on Tuesday, concluding the drawn-out MCOT advertising revenue embezzlement case.

The ruling was read at the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases on Tuesday morning. Sorrayuth, 53, was there.

He was found guilty of supporting the wrongdoing of a government official who did not report extra commercials in Sorrayuth’s news programme on state-run MCOT’s TV channel from Feb 4, 2005 to April 28, 2006. This cost MCOT 138 million baht, its contractual share of the revenue.

The court found that Sorrayuth’s firm Raisom bribed the official, paying about 600,000 baht, to alter the records. Evidence showed that records of commercials were erased with correction fluid 17 times.

The Supreme Court dismissed Sorrayuth’s argument that there was only one offence. However, it shortened his total sentence to eight years, comprising 6 years and 2 years,  from the 13 years and four months handed down by the Appeal Court three years ago.

Sorrayuth’s staffer Montha Theeradet, 46, who coordinated the wrongdoing, was also sentenced to eight years in jail, also shortened from 13 years and four months.

Pichapa Iamsa-ard, 50, the MCOT official tasked with keeping a record of the commercials, was sentenced to a reduced 12 years in prison for malfeasance causing damage to the MCOT. Her term was shortened from 20 years.

The fine imposed on Raisom Co was reduced from 80,000 baht to 72,000 baht.

The court said it had taken into consideration some convincing arguments in the defendants’ appeals.

The defendants were being processed for immediate admission to prison.

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