Her co-president Porher, was sentenced to 27 years in jail on five charges, the Security Newspaper published by the Ministry of Public Security reported last Thursday.
Souknaly, 48, was found guilty of fraud in a Ponzi scheme after her company persuaded people across the country to deposit money with the firm, lured by the promise of six per cent a month in returns.
But the enterprise constantly cut interest rates and even stopped repaying money to depositors.
Souknaly was also found guilty of money laundering, circulating hostile propaganda against the country, encouraging illegal assembly with intent to cause a public disturbance, illegal purchase and possession of a weapon, and possession of prohibited wildlife meat.
Porher, 53, was found guilty of fraud, money laundering, circulating hostile propaganda against the country, inciting people to gather with the intention of causing a public disturbance, and possession of prohibited wildlife meat.
The pair were also ordered to jointly pay more than one trillion kip to compensate the 237,772 petitioners who claimed losses in line with a civil charge verdict.
Additionally, the court ruled that Souknaly and Porher should pay fines of 2,856 million kip and 2,846 million kip.
However, Souknaly will serve only 15 years of her sentence in accordance with Article 45 of the Criminal Law, which states that a person found guilty of several offences is bound only by the maximum penalty imposed by one of the charges.
“Money laundering is the most serious crime among the six offences she was charged with and this carries a prison term of between 10-15 years,” a senior court official, who asked not to be named, told Vientiane Times on Saturday.
Porher will serve a similar 15-year term.
Another 10 executives and staff members of the PS-Agriculture and Industry Development Import and Export Co Ltd, also known as PS Lao Enterprise, were also given varying prison sentences and fines in accordance with the verdict of criminal guilt.