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That’s Entertainment?

Wow! It’s not often — never, in fact — that we can talk about the LA movie scene and tap Variety as one of our sources. But here it is. The Department of Justice just announced that a Los Angeles film executive and his wife were arrested on allegations of making corrupt payments to a Thai government official in order to obtain lucrative contracts to run an international film festival in Bangkok, in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Gerald Green, 75, and his wife Patricia Green, 52, both of Los Angeles, were arrested on a criminal complaint filed on Dec. 7, 2007, in federal court in Los Angeles and unsealed today. The complaint alleges that the Greens conspired to pay more than $1.7 million in bribes for the benefit of a government official with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in order to obtain the film festival contract and other contracts with the TAT worth more than $10 million.

The Greens owned and operated Film Festival Management, a Los Angeles-based business that was formed in 2003 specifically to bid for the management contract for the annual Bangkok International Film Festival (BIFF). The complaint alleges that from 2003 and continuing into 2007, the Greens conspired with others to bribe a senior Thai government official who was, at the time, the President of the BIFF and the Governor of the TAT. More than $1.7 million in payments were allegedly made for the benefit of the Governor.

The complaint also alleges that the Greens attempted to conceal their bribery. The government says they used different business entities — some with dummy business addresses and telephone numbers — to hide the large amounts they were being paid under the contracts with the TAT. The complaint also alleges that they paid “commissions” to the Governor through the foreign bank accounts of intermediaries. The conspiracy and FCPA allegations each carry a maximum of five years in prison. The government relied on at least two cooperating witnesses from within the Greens’ organization, obtained detailed bank records and raided their offices to gather evidence.

What about Variety? Well, it nearly scooped the DOJ by a year. Last December, it reported here that the Tourism Authority of Thailand had canceled the Greens’ contract to run the Bangkok International Film Festival and had decided to postpone the event for at least six months. Variety reported lots of wrangling among the parties about money but nothing specific about alleged corruption. While Variety didn’t quite get the story, at least we got to mention Variety — and quite shamelessly feature its logo on our post. What a day.

View the Department of Justice’s release Here.

View the FBI’s affidavit Here.

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