Bangkok festival bribes alleged
EmptyUPDATED 7:23 p.m. PT Jan. 17
A federal grand jury has indicted husband and wife Film Festival Management executives Gerald and Patricia Green for allegedly bribing a senior Thai government official into awarding them lucrative contracts to run the Bangkok International Film Festival.
The indictment, handed down late Wednesday, charges the Greens with one count of conspiracy to bribe a foreign public official in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act as well as six other counts of violating the FCPA.
The conspiracy and FCPA violations each carry a maximum of five years in federal prison.
The Greens were initially charged Dec. 7 by the government and arrested Dec. 17. The government then took the case to a federal grand jury, which bypasses any preliminary hearing in which the defense is able to cross-examine government witnesses and put on their own witnesses.
According to the grand jury indictment, between 2002 and 2007, Gerald Green, 75, and Patricia Green, 42, funneled more than $900,000 to a Thai official who was president of the Bangkok film fest and governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand at the time. In exchange, the governor was able to influence awarding the Bangkok festival contracts to the Greens, which included funds of more than $7 million.
Although not named in court documents, the government official in question is believed to be former festival president Juthamas Siriwan, who also was the tourism authority governor at that time. Siriwan has denied the allegations in the Asian media. In December, she resigned as deputy leader of her political party amid the accusations.
The Greens formed Film Festival Management in 2003 to bid for festival management contracts. Besides Bangkok, the company has managed several international festivals, according to its Web site, including Berlin, Cannes and Toronto.
Patricia Green's attorney, Marilyn Bednarski, said her client will plead not guilty on Tuesday at her and her husband's arraignment in Los Angeles. "I saw the indictment, and I disagree with it," Bednarski said. "We believe there will be a big battle ahead."
The indictment also charges the couple with creating various business entities, some with fake addresses and telephone numbers, to hide large amounts of money being paid to them under the contracts with the TAT.
Bednarski said she and Gerald Green's attorney, Jerome Mooney, have not received any of the government's evidence, including the identities of the witnesses who testified at the closed grand jury proceedings. "It's a one-sided process," she said.
"These are really good people who do fine, professional work," she added. "They are very well respected, and the claims being made are completely inconsistent with them and their past."