Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has returned to his homeland after 15 years in exile. According to Thai media, he was taken to the Supreme Court as soon as he arrived on Tuesday. The court then confirmed a prison sentence imposed on him during his absence in three corruption cases, it said.

Accordingly, Thaksin has to go to prison for eight years. However, political observers doubt that the now 74-year-old billionaire will spend much time behind bars. In Thailand, convicts over the age of 70 can apply for parole or a royal pardon.

Thaksin’s return comes hours ahead of another parliamentary vote on the prime minister. The Pheu Thai party, which he supports, wants to take power with real estate magnate Srettha Thavisin as its candidate. To this end, Pheu Thai has formed an alliance with 11 parties, including those parties linked to the military, which it contested in May’s parliamentary elections. Pheu Thai had previously seceded from the progressive Move Forward Party (MFP), despite the latter winning the general election ahead of Pheu Thai.

Thaksin, who made his fortune in the telecoms industry, was elected prime minister in 2001. He was overthrown in a military coup in 2006. He was accused of corruption and abuse of power, as well as disrespect for the monarchy. In 2008 he fled the country into exile to avoid prison.