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Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Thailand Film Festival
by Mark Beales

19 March 2010

Following the verdicts, Assistant Attorney General Breuer said: "As these convictions demonstrate, the Department of Justice will not waiver in its fight against corruption, whether perpetrated within our borders or abroad. The FCPA is a powerful tool that the department will continue to use in an effort to stop individuals like the Greens who seek to further their own business interests through bribes paid to foreign officials."

Sentencing was just adjourned again on March 11 and is now set for April 1. The judge, George H. Wu, has asked to see extra documents before making a decision in his Los Angeles court. He had previously asked for statements from Thailand to say how badly the case had affected the kingdom.

When it comes to Juthamas and her daughter, a US Thailand extradition treaty exists, but it’s not clear whether they would be forced to stand trial in America. In any case, Thai authorities may still take action of their own against the pair.

The Thai Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has looked into the case and sent its findings to the National Anti-Corruption Commission. Because Juthamas had such a high-profile role at the time, there is a chance that she could still be brought before a Thai court. Juthamas has made it clear she intends to fight the allegations, despite the Greens’ conviction. When the corruption claims first surfaced in 2007, she threatened to sue the US Justice Department if it linked her to the case.

Juthamas Siriwan and her daughter’s indictment details the charges: conspiracy to money launder, transferring funds to promote unlawful activity and aiding and abetting and causing an act to be done.

The indictment details the Green’s business interests and says: “The Green businesses were used as vehicles to help obtain contracts and subcontracts to provide goods and services for media and entertainment purposes to the government of Thailand.”

It added that between 2002 and 2007 the Greens received ‘at least’ US$14 million of funds from TAT and deals connected to the Thai Privilege Card (TPC). The latter is known as the Elite Card and offered certain rights to wealthy foreigners.

Court papers add that during the same time the Greens sent US$1.8 million to bank accounts held in the name of Jittisopa Siriwan or a friend. These accounts were in Singapore, the United Kingdom and the Isle of Jersey, an island situated between England and France.

Contracts ‘inflated’ to cover bribe costs

The indictment alleges: “Gerald Green and Patricia Green caused these corrupt payments…in order to secure the lucrative TAT and TPC contracts and subcontracts.”

The Siriwans failed to report any of these payments on their Thai tax returns, the papers claim. It is alleged that a deal was reached where Green would offer between 10 and 20 per cent of a contract’s value as a bribe. The contracts included websites, calendars and videos promoting Thailand.

Prosecutors plan to show detailed accounts that prove Jittisopa Siriwan created bank accounts outside of Thailand, into which the Greens sent money. When she opened a bank account in Singapore, she denied being related to a senior public official, it is alleged. If found guilty, the Siriwans could have to pay back part or all of the money, the papers add.

Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra appointed Juthamas as TAT governor in 2002 and she held the post until 2006. She was a controversial figure, even before the film festival scandal. After the 2004 tsunami that hit Thailand and Southeast Asia, she didn’t win many fans when she declared: ‘Although we lost many lives and much property in the disaster, the tragic event has brought some good things as it has swept away all the garbage and some parts of the Andaman Sea are the clearest they have been in 20 years.’

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