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Thailand’s fugitive ex-PM siblings tout new DNA venture at Vegas expo

2 min read

FILE PHOTO: Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra speaks to Reuters during an interview in Singapore

BANGKOK (Reuters) – They are both former prime ministers and officially Thailand’s most-wanted siblings, but in exile abroad, ousted Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister Yingluck have turned to the more modest task of promoting a DNA nutrition app at a convention in Las Vegas.

The pair appeared on Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show 2020 in Vegas, an annual technology and electronics industry expo running from Jan. 7-10, to promote one of their investments.

They were photographed at the booth of DNANudge, a company that uses a cheek swab containing a person’s DNA to recommend dietary choices, according to its website.

“My brother and I are here at Consumer Electronic Show 2020 (CES 2020) Las Vegas, the United States, launching our business we invested (in) and just launched in London,” Yingluck said in a post on Twitter.

Back home in Thailand, both had been ousted during military coups, Thaksin in 2006, and his sister in 2014.

The 2014 coup maker is the Southeast Asian nation’s current prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha.

The pro-Thaksin Pheu Thai party is currently the largest opposition party in Thailand.

Thaksin, a former telecommunications tycoon, said he had been working on DNANudge with its founders for the past three years.

“I’m of advanced age and don’t want to invest in something too big … but we think this product can really change the world,” 70-year-old Thaksin said in a video on Facebook.

Thaksin and Yingluck, who occasionally write posts on social media to engage their followers, are in self-exile from Thailand to avoid corruption convictions they say are politically motivated.

Thaksin, who was prime minister from 2001 to 2006, was found guilty of corruption in 2008. Yingluck, who is 52, was prime minister from 2011 to 2014, and was found guilty of dereliction of duty in a failed rice subsidy program.

(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng, Panarat Thepgumpanat and Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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