Los Angeles-based film executive Gerald Green and his wife Patricia of Film Festival Management (FFM) were arrested yesterday (Dec 18) in a Los Angeles federal court for paying bribes to obtain lucrative contracts for the Bangkok International Film Festival (BKKIFF).

The US Justice Department announced that a criminal complaint alleges that from 2003 to 2007, the Greens conspired to make more than $1.7m in corrupt payments to the president of BKKIFF and governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in return for the film festival and other contracts with TAT worth more than $10m.

Although the official has not been identified, it is believed that it refers to Juthamas Siriwan who held the above positions at that time.

The complaint also alleges that the Greens used different business entities, some with dummy business addresses and phone numbers, to conceal their bribery and to hide the money they were being paid under the contracts. The 'commission' payments to the TAT governor were made through the foreign bank accounts of intermediaries.

The criminal complaint was filed on Dec 7, but it is not clear who submitted it.

The conspiracy and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) allegations each carry a maximum of five years in prison. The case is being investigated by FBI agents of the Los Angeles Field Office.

The Greens formed Film Festival Management in 2003 specifically to bid for the management contract for BKKIFF. TAT terminated its contract late last year following the military coup and the departure of Juthamas as TAT governor.