Dutch coffeeshop owner accused of money laundering in Thai court

The process against Dutch coffee shop owner Johan van Laarhoven started in the court in Bangkok, Thailand on Tuesday. He stands accused of laundering 20 million euros.

Van Laarhoven is the founder of The Grass Company. He has been living in Thailand for several years. He was arrested last year after Justice in the Netherlands tipped off the Thai police, Omroep Brabant reports.

Van Laarhoven's lawyer, Sidney Smeets, told Omroep Brabant that his client is living in horrid circumstances in the Thai prison. "It's barbaric. You would not wish it on anyone, but certainly not on a smart entrepreneur who only earned money in the Netherlands with tolerated coffee shops." According to the lawyer, Thai investigators do not understand the Dutch tolerance policy.

The first witnesses were heard in the Thai court on Tuesday. The process is expected to take up to two weeks, with the second week of the trail being scheduled for early July. The ruling will be made in September.