Thailand's former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was sentenced in absentia Wednesday to five years in prison by the Supreme Court after it found her guilty of negligence of duty for mishandling a rice subsidy project that caused massive losses.

Yingluck is believed to have fled the country ahead of the verdict day that was originally scheduled last month. An arrest warrant has been issued for her, with Thai police seeking assistance from Interpol.

In its ruling, the court said Yingluck, who oversaw the rice subsidy policy in her administration, failed to stop falsified government-to-government sales of rice despite warnings from relevant state and independent agencies.