Monday, June 21, 2010

Still waiting for Juthamas to answer charges in Bangkok film fest bribery case

I missed the news more than a week ago that former Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Juthamas Sririwan will be charged in Thailand with taking bribes in the Bangkok International Film Festival bribery case.

Actually, the National Anti-Corruption Commission informed Juthamas of its findings last month and is still waiting for her to answer the charges.

Juthamas and her daughter are also under indictment in the U.S. for the case, in which U.S. Justice Department officials say the Siriwans took $1.8 million in bribes from Gerald and Patricia Green. The husband-and-wife Hollywood producers paid the bribes in order to secure contracts to run the Bangkok International Film Festival and other tourism-related schemes between 2002 and 2007.

The Thai case against Juthamas will likely make use of evidence gathered by the U.S. authorities, say the Bangkok Post and The Nation.

Gerald, the producer of such films as Salvador and Rescue Dawn, and Patricia, were convicted of violating the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The Greens' sentencing in the case has been repeatedly delayed. The last update had a sentencing set for June 3, but that date has come and gone without a peep out of Los Angeles.

Under Juthamas and the Greens, the Bangkok International Film Festival from 2004 to 2006, 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.

Juthamas stepped down as TAT governor in 2006. After a military coup removed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra from office, Juthamas headed a political party and stood for election in 2007, but dropped out after the Greens were arrested that year.

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