Former TAT boss goes back to jail

BANGKOK, 10 May 2019: Former governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Juthamas Siriwan, once a popular personality in tourism circles, is now a forgotten, forlorn figure serving out a 50-year sentence for receiving bribes from the American organisers of the Bangkok film festival between 2002 and 2007.

She made a brief appearance at Thailand’s Appeal Court earlier this week where she hoped her 50-year sentence would be reduced.

It wasn’t and according to a report in the Bangkok Post, Wednesday, the 72-year old former TAT governor returned after the court hearing to the Central Women’s Correctional Institution in Chatuchak district, Bangkok.

The Bangkok Post reported that the Appeal Court upheld the 50-year prison sentence handed out to the former Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Juthamas Siriwan for pocketing THB62 million in bribes from American organisers of the annual Bangkok film festival.

Juthamas’ daughter faired better in court gaining a sentence reduction from 44 to 40 years for supporting her mother’s criminal activity by laundering the money through various bank accounts.

The Appeal Court’s decision was read at the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases noting that Juthamas, was guilty of 11 counts of collusion with Gerald Green and his wife Patricia, an American couple who organised the Bangkok Film Festival. They were both indicted by a court in Los Angeles and have served their sentences.

The Appeal Court dropped one count for Juthamas’ daughter Jittisopha, 45, concerning alleged support for the crime, but the court found the daughter guilty of opening foreign bank accounts to receive the bribes paid in 59 transactions.

According to the Bangkok Post report the THB 62 million in bribes was not confiscated during the original trial.

The lower court delivered its rulings on Juthamas and her daughter 29 March 2017 around 10 years after the crimes were committed.

(This story originally appeared in the Bangkok Post.)

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