Monday, February 25, 2008

Thai agency wraps up festival bribery probe

In the continuing saga of the Bangkok International Film Festival bribery scandal, the Bangkok Post reports today that Thailand's Department of Special Investigation has completed its probe, and it will forward its case to the National Counter Corruption Commission.

Here is more from the story (cache):

It was unclear what that will mean to the pending case against former Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Juthamas Siriwan. She has been accused of receiving $1.7 million in bribes from Americans Gerald Green and his wife Patricia in return for permission to run the festival.

The US couple established a company to bid for the management contract for the Bangkok festival, held annually, and allegedly conspired with others to bribe Mrs Juthamas.

She threatened to sue the US Justice Department if it linked her to the case against the Greens - but it did, and she didn't. Instead, it filed a number of documents accusing Mrs Juthamas' daughter and others of laundering the bribe money for Mrs Juthamas.

Col Piyawat [Kingket] said that by turning the case over to the NCCC, the anti-graft agency can file charges and proceed with a case, presumably against Mrs Juthamas.

But it is likely the NCCC will have to "follow up" on the DSI's investigation with a probe of its own.

The Department of Special Investigation, or DSI, is essentially the equivalent of America's FBI. The National Counter Corruption Commission is the government's main agency for investigating graft by officials; however, the NCCC is not immune from political influence. At the moment, it is stacked with officials appointed by the junta that ran the Thai government in 2006-07, but maybe that will change? There is still a chance that the Thai end of this investigation could be swept under the rug.

Either way, though, the probe will be used a political tool, rather than serving justice, and putting an end to future acts of corruption that taint Thailand's image.

More information:


  1. In any case the TAT website now has the BKKIFF 2008 listed in its festival calendar for july 2008...Iam not sure if this is to be taken seriously, though. Do you have any more information on this? Greetings from germany, kai


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