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Jeremy Colson


Jeremy Colson's festival coverage.

Film Festival ambassador to filmfestivals.com
Visiting Athens, Bangkok, Cairo, Hanoi, Hiroshima, Phuket, Istanbul, Antalya, Estonia, Calcutta, Goa, Trivandrum, Kathmandu, Neasden and more.


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Bangkok filmfest organizer Juthamas could face 20 years in jail

BANGKOK ~ A former Thai tourism official and her daughter have been indicted on charges that they accepted bribes from a Los Angeles filmmaking couple in exchange for running the Bangkok International Film Festival.

An indictment unsealed Tuesday in Los Angeles charges Juthamas Siriwan, the ex-governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and her daughter, Jittisopa Siriwan, with conspiracy and eight other counts. If convicted, they each face up to 20 years in prison, according to a report from Canadian Press (CP).

It was not immediately clear whether Siriwan and her daughter were in custody or had retained an attorney.

Federal prosecutors said Siriwan accepted about $1.8 million in bribes from film producers Gerald and Patricia Green between 2002 and 2007 so the couple could run the Bangkok film festival and land other tourism-related deals.

The scheme netted the couple, who inflated their budgets so Juthamas could be paid off, about $13.5 million, authorities said.

The payments, some of which were made in cash to Juthamas directly, were often disguised as sales commissions between 10 per cent to 20 per cent. Prosecutors added that Juthamas and Jittisopa opened bank accounts in Singapore and the United Kingdom to receive the corrupt payments.

The couple were convicted in September of conspiracy and money laundering. They are scheduled to be sentenced Thursday. Prosecutors said in court documents that Gerald Green, 78, could face more than 30 years in prison, while his 55-year-old wife could receive a sentence of between 19 and 24 years.

The Greens helped transform the festival into a rising star on the international circuit for screening new films, attracting the likes of Michael Douglas, Jeremy Irons and director Oliver Stone to Thailand.

Juthamas, who is no longer Thailand's tourism governor, ran for a parliamentary seat in 2007 but pulled out of the race after the allegations surfaced.

The Greens are the first entertainment industry figures who have been convicted under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a federal statute prohibiting corrupt payments to foreign officials for business purposes.

Gerald Green paired with Stone on "Salvador," which was nominated for two Academy Awards, and served as executive producer on the Christian Bale-led "Rescue Dawn" in 2006. Patricia Green produced "Diamonds," a comedy starring Kirk Douglas and Lauren Bacall, with her husband.

Douglas wrote a letter supporting the Greens, saying the couple "were extremely honest and fair in all of their dealings with me." Film producers Dino De Laurentiis and Mario Kassar also sent letters to the judge, pledging their support for Gerald Green.

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About Jeremy Colson

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This is the diary of a festival ambassador travelling throughout Asia and elsewhere around the world.  Festivals covered include: Bangkok, Phuket, Istanbul, Antalya, Estonia, London, Calcutta, Goa, Trivandrum, Chennai, Neasden and more


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