A pair of Beverly Hills film producers have been found guilty of conspiring to bribe a former Thai government official to obtain contracts that provided for, among other things, control of the annual Bangkok International Film Festival, the Justice Department said today.
A jury in California on Friday found Gerald Green, 77, and Patricia Green, 52, guilty of money laundering and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. A jury also found substantive violations under the FCPA, a higher evidentiary hurdle than proving the conspiracy charge. (In August, The National Law Journal previewed the trial here.)
The Greens are scheduled for sentencing Dec. 17 before Judge George Wu of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Trial in the closely watched case lasted nearly three weeks. FCPA trials are rare, and this case is one of the first against the movie industry.
“As these convictions demonstrate, the Department of Justice will not waiver in its fight against corruption, whether perpetrated within our borders or abroad,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer in a statement.
A superceding indictment in March charged the Greens with paying $1.8 million in bribes between 2002 and 2007 to Juthamas Siriwan, the former governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, in exchange for receiving contracts, including one to manage and operate the Bangkok International Film Festival. Businesses owned by the Greens, according to Justice, earned $13.5 million from the contracts.
Justice officials said the kickbacks were paid through banks in Singapore and the United Kingdom in the name of the former governor’s daughter and a friend of the governor. Prosecutors said the Greens used different business names—some with fake addresses and telephone numbers—to hide the money they were making on the contracts.
The conspiracy and other FCPA charges carry a maximum penalty of five years each in prison. The money laundering counts carry a maximum penalty of up to 20 years each in prison.
Jerome Mooney, a partner at Los Angeles-based Weston, Garrou, Walters & Mooney, who represents Gerald Green, said: “This case fires a shot across the bow of Hollywood. Unfortunately that shot landed in my client’s boat.” Mooney called the Greens “fundamentally good people. A prison sentence of any length for these people in this case would be obscene."
Senior trial attorney Jonathan Lopez of the Fraud Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division prosecuted the case with Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Searby of the Central District of California.