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Bangkok Post : US producers convicted of bribing TAT governor

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US producers convicted of bribing TAT governor

Published: 15/09/2009 at 04:07 AM

Los Angeles - Hollywood producers Gerald and Patricia Green have been convicted of money laundering and bribing a Thai official, the US attorney's office announced on Monday.

Gerald and Patricia Green, convicted of bribing the former governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand

Gerald and Patricia Green were found guilty late last Friday on charges related to their running of the Bangkok International Film Festival. The verdict was not announced until Monday, California time.

The verdict could open Hollywood up to more investigations regarding overseas business.

More to the point, it could open an investigation and possible charges against Juthamas Siriwan, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand at the time the Greens bribed and connived their way into control of the BIFF.

Mrs Juthamas has denied any involvement. But it may be difficult now for the National Anti-Corruption Commission to ignore the conviction of the Greens for sending her bribes of $1.8 million, or about 72 million baht at the time
.

The US couple were both convicted of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, eight violations of the FCPA and seven acts of money laundering - all charges involving bribes send to Mrs Juthamas and her relatives. In addition, Patricia Green was found guilty of two counts of falsely subscribing a US tax return.

Gerald Green, 77, and his wife Patricia, 52, could each face upwards of 10 years in prison, said Assistant US Attorney Bruce H. Searby, who prosecuted the case.

Sentencing is set for Dec 17. The couple is currently free on bond.

The Greens worked on the festival in 2003 and operated it from 2004 through 2006. Through connections made in that process, Gerald Green served as an executive producer on the 2006 film Rescue Dawn, which was shot in Thailand

The Greens were charged on March 11, 2009, in a second superseding indictment with paying kickbacks to Mrs Juthamas in exchange for receiving contracts to manage and operate the annual BIFF, as well as contracts to provide an elite tourism "privilege card" marketed to wealthy foreigners. 

Specifically, according to the superseding indictment, the Greens paid approximately $1.8 million in bribes to the former governor through numerous bank accounts in Singapore, the United Kingdom and the Isle of Jersey in the name of Mrs Juthamas' daughter and a friend.
 
The contracts received by the Greens resulted in more than $13.5 million in revenue to businesses they owned.

Attorneys for the Greens both said they were disappointed by the verdict and are preparing to appeal.

Searby strongly disagreed, however. "There is no more concrete type of harm to the Thai people than taking money out of their treasury and sending it on a round trip through LA back to a government official," he said.

"As these convictions demonstrate, the Department of Justice will not waiver in its fight against corruption, whether perpetrated within our borders or abroad," said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. (Compiled from news reports)

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  • SAmmy D. Jr.

    Discussion 18 : 15/09/2009 at 12:27 PM18

    Relax folk....

    I'm no lawyer, but I watch Perry Mason every episode and read every book by John Grisham. If I were Juthamas, I wouldn't rush to a temple to make merrit or go to a fortune teller to seek advice, not yet anyway.

    First, the Greens will take the case all the way to the US Supreme Court on ground that their constitution right had been violated (their lawyer will cook something up), which would take at least 20 years before the Court give out the verdict. The case would be called Greens vs US Justice Dept.

    Second, If Thai authority want to convict Juthamas, they have to obtain evidences from the US Justice Dept., which the JD would refuse, citing the evidences were meant to convict the Greens not Juthamas. Belive me this is how US justice system works.

    In general, I'll bet my rented house that Juthamas will be clear.

  • Michael

    Discussion 17 : 15/09/2009 at 12:25 PM17

    Comes to law, for the West there is no compromise; unlike Thailand, people can twist and turn Thai laws to their benefits. If laws are not uphold, protests and chaos will always be a scene in Thailand. Will the former TAT governor be convicted or acquitted? I think she will do the same as many other convicted jailers (Thaksin, Kamnan Poh, Vatana A.) and run to another country to enjoy life with the bundle of money they have corrupted.

  • D lighted

    Discussion 16 : 15/09/2009 at 12:15 PM16

    Some may say it's not too late for Thailand to start a serious, interdisciplinary, intense, ruthless and continuous fight against corruption.

    I have my doubts. Who would dare to start it? Who could keep up that fight? And how would they survive their fight - literally?

    I hope I am too pessimistic. Time will tell.

  • Somchai Jakwaotukwan

    Discussion 15 : 15/09/2009 at 12:14 PM15

    From the sound of it, this couple was just doing business the "Thai" way. The fact that they got caught, leads me to believe they offended someone high up in the government (maybe someone above Khun Juthamas who didn't get cut in) or some powerful businessman who then ratted them out to the US Gov't. I assume they are being charged in the U.S. because the couple sent money overseas illegally (the money laundering charge). As far as bribing a Thai official, if they were charged in the US, then some Thai intermediary probably came to the states to broker this deal (perhaps so he/she couldn't be charged in Thailand). I can just see the Thai spin on this, "Farang insult Thai people with bribe, that not how we do business here". Riggggggght.

  • Chris

    Discussion 14 : 15/09/2009 at 11:54 AM14

    This country will never ever change, it was predicted to be the first "Tiger" nation in Asia (Before Japan), and it is still on square one...

    Every time a foreigner is a part of the game, the Thais make it very easy for them, but please understand that the person receiving the money in this case is a Thai official.

    The foreigners do not normally receive any money in Thailand, they pay it to your corrupt officials, because there is no other way to get things done in a corrupt country.

  • charlie

    Discussion 13 : 15/09/2009 at 11:30 AM13

    Corruption is the cancer that keeps Thailand from reaching its full potential .Can you imagine how far Thailand would have come already without it ?

  • Chan

    Discussion 12 : 15/09/2009 at 11:23 AM12

    This is quite clear and the justice system must act promptly. As part of the investigation, it is not only who received the money first; but also where the money finally end up!!!

  • Kit

    Discussion 11 : 15/09/2009 at 11:21 AM11

    Seize on every law supporting act as the next step to cleaning up corruption. This is totally great.

  • Somchai

    Discussion 10 : 15/09/2009 at 10:47 AM10

    It's hard to prosecute Khun Juthamas because the people who would do so are no doubt known to be doing the same thing; otherwise, they wouldn't have reached the position they are in. They are liable to be exposed themselves. You can't get promoted to the higher positions unless you pay money, and once you get there, you need to be corrupt to get back your investment. It's standard practice in Amazing Thailand.

    Why on earth she didn't ask Thaksin for advice on how to hide the money, I have no idea!

  • kasper

    Discussion 9 : 15/09/2009 at 10:27 AM9

    "Hollywood producers Gerald and Patricia Green have been convicted of money laundering and bribing a Thai official, the US attorney's office announced on Monday."

    They have been convicted by a US court, not a thai court. The thai NCCC has, as far as I know, not convicted them of anything, hence there is no pressure to convict khun Juthamas Siriwan either.
    I do agree though, that had Thailand decided to convict the US couple of bribing khun Juthamas Siriwan, then it would make no legal sense not to convict khun Juthamas Siriwan for receiving that same bribe.

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