Friday, August 13, 2010
Greens sentenced to six months in jail in Bangkok International Film Festival bribery case
Hollywood producer couple Gerald and Patricia Green have been sentenced to six months in jail and six months in home detention for their part in paying bribes to run the Bangkok International Film Festival.
The pair were found guilty almost a year ago of money laundering and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The U.S. Justice Department said the Greens had paid $1.8 million in bribes to a Thai government official, Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Juthamas Siriwan, in exchange for contracts to run the Bangkok International Film Festival and other TAT projects.
Prosecutors said the Greens had an "orchestrated, sophisticated scheme" involving fake receipts, shell companies and cash payments. Authorities say the Greens netted $14 million from the contracts.
Juthamas was paid through bank accounts in the U.K., Singapore and the Isle of Jersey that were in the name of her daughter, prosecutors say.
Juthamas faces charges in Thailand and she and her daughter are under indictment in the U.S.
Under the Greens and Juthamas from 2003 to 2006, the Bangkok International Film Festival gained a reputation as a glitzy, red-carpet-festooned affair, with major Hollywood stars flown in at Thai taxpayers' expense to be wined and dined at lavish banquets, golf tournaments and tours, and put up in five-star hotels.
The aim, say the Greens' lawyers, was to put Thailand "on the filmmakers' map," resulting in such Hollywood productions as Oliver Stone's Alexander and Werner Herzog's Rescue Dawn (produced by Gerald Green), being made in Thailand.
Juthamas stepped down as TAT governor in 2006. The bribery case came to light in December 2007, when the Greens were charged in the U.S. Juthamas was running for election at the time as a deputy leader of the Peua Pandin party, which was vying to form the first government after the 2006 military coup that had deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Juthamas withdrew from the election, but has denied any wrongdoing.
Sentencing in the Greens' case had been repeatedly put off.
The Wrap covered the sentencing, and was in the Los Angeles courtroom on Thursday.
Prosecutors wanted the Greens in prison for 10 years, but Gerald Green's attorney Jerry Mooney had argued for a shorter sentence on the basis of the 77-year-old Mr. Green's poor health.
The trial has been keenly watched in Hollywood business circles because the Greens are the first in the entertainment industry to be charged and found guilty of violating the FCPA.
Further stories about the case are at Bloomberg, the AP and The Hollywood Reporter.
This year's Bangkok International Film Festival is expected to be held from November 19 to 29.
Update: The Nation has a story on Juthamas' whereabouts. No one knows where she is. Maybe she's at home? Anyone tried knocking on her door?
Update 2: The Bangkok Post reports that while Juthamas hasn't shown up to answer the charges, she did give National Anti-Counter Corruption Commission investigators a statement,.
(Via Film Business Asia)