Bits and BobsEx-TAT governor slapped with 50 years' jail time for bribery.

Fall from grace for former tourism chief

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Former TAT chief Juthamas Siriwan was found guilty of accept kickbacks for organising a film festival in the 2000s.
Former TAT chief Juthamas Siriwan was found guilty of accept kickbacks for organising a film festival in the 2000s. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Gerasimov174

The former governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Juthamas Siriwan, was sentenced to 50 years in prison for allegedly accepting bribes from organisers of an international film festival back in the early 2000s.

Khaosod English reported that Juthamas Siriwan, who headed TAT as governor from 2002 to 2006, was found guilty by the lower courts of up to 11 charges, including collusion, malfeasance, and bribery. The conviction was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court on Monday, ending decades of court saga that saw involvement from the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department.

The ruling brought an end to the high-profile case, which started in 2014 when the National Anti-Corruption Commission announced proof that Juthamas and her daughter, Jittisopa Siriwan, of corruption in the film festival.

According to the prosecutors, Juthamas received US$1.8 million from an American film producer couple, Gerald and Patricia Green, in exchange for a contract to organise the annual Bangkok International Film Festival from 2002 to 2007. Jittisopa assisted in the scheme by opening offshore bank accounts to receive the bribe money.

Gerald and Patricia Green earned more than US$13 million in revenue from the illicit deal, the U.S. court found. The two film producers were meted a six-month prison term in 2010 after the pair was convicted of paying bribes to foreign officials for financial gain.

Juthamas, who has been incarcerated since 2017, was sent back to prison upon hearing the latest verdict, Khaosod reported. The court also implicated her daughter, Jittisopa, in the alleged crimes and sentenced her to 44 years in prison.

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