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Hollywood FCPA Trial Set To Open

The year’s third Foreign Corrupt Practices Act trial is scheduled to start on Tuesday when the husband-and-wife movie producers arrested in 2007 face a federal jury in Los Angeles. Prosecutors allege that Gerald and Patricia Green paid more than $1.8 million in bribes to a former governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand in return for $14 million in contracts to stage the Bangkok Film Festival.

Last month, Frederic Bourke was convicted of conspiracy to violate the FCPA. And a jury is now deliberating the fate of former congressman William Jefferson (here), who’s accused of violating the FCPA and accepting bribes while in office.

Gerald Green, 76, and his wife Patricia, 53 — whose screen credits include Rescue Dawn — have pleaded not guilty to all 22 counts of a second superseding indictment. In addition to the FCPA charges, they face counts for money laundering and illegally transporting money-laundering proceeds. Gerald Green is also charged with obstruction and Patricia Green with filing false tax returns. The government is also seeking forfeiture of some of their property, and the court has issued a restraining order that prevents them from disposing of certain assets before the end of the trial.

The Greens face up to five years in prison for each FCPA charge, up to 10 years for each tax count, and up to 20 years for the money-laundering and obstruction charges.

According to the prosecution’s trial memo, the Thai official at the center of the case is Juthamas Siriwan. She headed the Tourism Authority of Thailand from 2001 to 2006 and was in charge of the film festival the Greens produced. She resigned as deputy chair of Thailand’s Puea Pandin (People’s Power) Party soon after the Greens’ arrest in December 2007. She denies doing anything wrong.

The prosecution says one of its witnesses will be Susan Shore. She was the Greens’ long-time accountant and is now a cooperating witness testifying with immunity. The government also has surveillance tapes it intends to use at the trial.

Prosecutors plan to introduce into evidence a Thai anti-bribery statute that applies to public officials (here). That law — even if it’s rarely enforced — probably blocks the Greens from raising the local-law affirmative defense. The FCPA allows otherwise prohibited payments if the “payment, gift, offer, or promise of anything of value that was made, was lawful under the written laws and regulations of the foreign official’s” country. 15 U.S.C. §§ 78dd-1(c)(1), 78dd-2(c)(1) and 78dd-3(c)(1). The defense is rarely available because most countries, like Thailand, have anti-corruption laws.

View our prior posts about U.S. v. Gerald Green and Patricia Green here.
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