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Thailand indicts ex tourism chief and daughter for film festival bribery, likely ending U.S. prosecution

Prosecutors in Thailand indicted the former tourism chief and her daughter for taking bribes from a Hollywood producer and his wife in exchange for contracts to run a film festival.

Juthamas Siriwan, 68, and her daughter Jittisopha, 41, appeared in criminal court in Bangkok Tuesday on charges of taking bribes, corruption, and bid-rigging in connection with public contracts, according to a spokesperson for Thailand’s attorney general.

They each face up to 20 years in prison, the Bangkok Post said.

Prosecutors said they took bribes from Gerald Green, a Hollywood producer, and his wife Patricia.

Gerald Green, 83, died last month in Los Angeles.

In 2009, a federal jury in Los Angeles found the Greens guilty of paying $1.8 million in bribes to Siriwan in exchange for contracts worth $13.5 million to produce the Bangkok film festival from 2004 to 2006.

The Greens each served prison sentences of six months. They were released in May 2011.

In January 2009, the DOJ indicted Siriwan and her daughter on eight counts of conspiracy to launder money, transporting funds to promote unlawful activity, and aiding and abetting.

Neither have been in U.S. custody.

Judge George Wu in Los Angeles indicated earlier he may toss the indictment against Siriwan and her daughter if Thailand brings charges against them.

Siriwan has argued through her lawyers that a double jeopardy provision in the U.S. – Thai extradition treaty means she can’t be put on trial in the U.S. if she’s prosecuted for the same crimes in Thailand.

In a court filing in the U.S. case in late 2012, Siriwan said the Thai government had formally notified the United States that Thailand had postponed her extradition and would put her on trial.

In November last year, the chief of Thailand’s top anti-corruption bureau said his agency and the attorney general’s office had developed evidence showing that Siriwan “committed criminal offenses as a former state official.”

The Thailand attorney general’s office said this week that Siriwan’s extradition to the United States had been formally requested but isn’t necessary because she’s being prosecuted on the same charges at home, the Bangkok Post said.

The next status conference in the U.S. case against Siriwan and her daughter is scheduled for September 17.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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