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Ex-TAT chief to be charged with bribery



Ex-TAT chief to be charged with bribery | Thaiger


– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Ex-TAT chief to be charged with bribery
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has declared that it will file charges against former Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Juthamas Siriwan, who has been accused of accepting bribes from Hollywood filmmakers.

The charges will go to the Office of the Attorney-General in the next few weeks.

The process of filing charges began after December 2007 when Los Angeles film executive Gerald Green and his wife Patricia Green were arrested on charges of paying US$1.8 million (around Bt60 million at that time) in bribes to a Thai tourism official for the rights to run the annual Bangkok International Film Festival between 2002 and 2007.

Vichai Vivitasevi, a member of the NACC and also of a joint committee working with the Office of the Attorney-General, said yesterday that investigators had been working on both documentary and individual evidence for two years and 11 months.

“We have collected 2,200 pieces of documentary papers in relation to the case, most of which involved ways Juthamas allegedly deposited funds in banks in Singapore, Switzerland, Britain and the US,” Vichai said.

He added that all evidence collected was now considered as complete.

In regard to the assets used in the alleged bribes, amounting to $1.8 million, Vichai said this evidence was in the process of being brought back to Thailand in line an agreement with the United States under the United Nations Convention against Corruption of 2003.

He said the NACC had set up a fact-finding subpanel to probe whether Juthamas was unusually wealthy in a bid to ask for the confiscation of her assets. If she were found to be unexplainably rich, money could be taken over by the state.

“If she is also found guilty on criminal charges, she could face life imprisonment as the maximum punishment,” Vichai said.

He was asked whether the NACC had sped up the case to meet a March 31, 2015, deadline – after which the US would need to drop proceedings if the Thai government could not bring it to court. Vichai said he would push for the case to be taken up as quickly as possible because of the US’s firm stance on corruption.

The case is being investigated by agents from the Los Angeles Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Greens formed a business to bid for the management contract for the annual film festival.

In 2010, they were found guilty of paying bribes to the former tourism chief via bank accounts in Singapore, on the Isle of Jersey and in Britain – set up in the names of Juthamas’ daughter Jittisopa Siriwan and a friend.

— Phuket Gazette Editors


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