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US Producers Jailed in Thai Film Festival Bribery Case

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US ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney has asked the National Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate corruption cases that concern her country.

“The US requested our cooperation to follow up on corruption cases that involve [Thai] high-ranking officials or politicians and are linked with the US,” NACC spokesman Klanarong Chanthik said after meeting the ambassador yesterday.

The NACC is probing several such cases, he said.

Ms Kenney affirmed the US would never interfere with the work of the NACC, which is an independent agency, said Mr Klanarong.

The NACC also informed the ambassador about progress in the Bangkok International Film Festival bribery case in which former Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Juthamas Siriwan was implicated by the US Justice Department.

According to US authorities, Hollywood producers Gerald and Patricia Green paid US$1.8 million (54 million baht) in bribes to Ms Juthamas in exchange for contracts to run the film festival and other TAT projects between 2002 and 2006.

They were convicted in a US court in August 2010 and told to serve six months in jail.

The NACC has now stepped into the case.

Mr Klanarong said he told Ms Kenney that Thai authorities were contacting their US counterparts regarding the bribe money, which was seized by US authorities.

Thai authorities want the US to hand over the money to Thailand as evidence in the investigation, said Mr Klanarong.

The NACC is relying on second-hand information and evidence obtained by US officials because the bribes were reportedly paid outside Thailand.

The NACC is also investigating three more suspected corruption cases in which US officials allegedly committed a crime in Thailand and were linked with Thai officials, said Mr Klanarong.

Writer: King-oua Laohong


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