The Appeal Court upheld a Dutchman’s 75-year jail term and his Thai wife’s 7-year sentence for laundering money earned supplying marijuana to customers in the Netherlands for years.
Johannes Petrus Maria van Laarhoven, 57, was found guilty of laundering earnings from his gang’s smuggling of marijuana to the Netherlands from July 2008 to June 2014.
He ran coffee shops in the Netherlands, where the sale of cannabis for personal consumption in such places is legally permitted.
His wife Mingkwan Kaen-in, or Mingkwan van Laarhoven, 35, was found guilty of supporting money laundering.
They transferred 500,000 euros related to the marijuana business from Cyprus-registered Deefety Holdings Ltd to one bank account owed by Laarhoven in Pattaya and several million euros from Deutsche Bank of Germany to another account in Pattaya.
Since June 2009, they had bought land and buildings in Chon Buri, two yachts, a Porsche and a sedan worth more than 100 million baht in total.
While Dutch authorities in the Netherlands turn a blind eye to the sale of cannabis in coffee shops under the policy of tolerance known as “gedoogbeleid,” Thai authorities take a much more hardline approach to cannabis.
The court concluded that money earned from the sale of cannabis in the Netherlands was obtained by illegal means, therefore spending that money in Thailand amounted to criminal activity.
Police arrested the couple in their house at a golf club in Chon Buri on July 23, 2014.
The wife’s prison term was commuted from 11 years to seven years and four months because she gave useful testimony.