Dutch man gets 20 years in Thai prison for laundering drug money


Dutchman Johan van Laarhoven has been sentenced to 103 years in prison by a Thai court for laundering money he earned with the trade in soft drugs. According to his lawyer, Sidney Smeets, he has to serve 20 of those years. 

On Twitter Smeets calls the conviction "incorrect and unjust". "It is completely incomprehensible that he earned his money and paid tax in a decent way in the Netherlands, to then be sentenced in Thailand for money laundering", the lawyer said to the Telegraaf. According to him, Thai judges do not understand the Dutch tolerance policy and the Dutch authorities provided "incomplete and inaccurate" information about the soft drugs policy in the Netherlands."

Another of Van Laarhoven's Dutch lawyers, Tim Vis, expressed similar sentiments to Omroep Brabant. "This is terrible news for Johan and his family. From the start we stated that Thailand is not the place to deal wit this matter." Vis said to the broadcaster. He added that the Dutch Public Prosecutor's "dubious and resentful actions" delivered Van Laarhoven to a judge "who has not sufficiently been able to explain the Dutch tolerance policy."

Both lawyers confirmed that they are still considering whether or not to appeal. Smeets explained that Van Laarhoven can only be extradited to the Netherlands once there are no more ongoing legal proceedings. "Perhaps it is preferable that he is transferred to the Netherlands as quickly as possible." A previous attempt to have him extradited to the Netherlands was unsuccessful.

Van Laarhoven has been in custody in a Thai prison since July last years. Smeets previously stated that the conditions in the prison are "horrid".