Appeal Court denies bail for ex-TAT governor, daughter

Former Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Juthamas Siriwan, wearing a face mask, keeps her eyes lowered while her daughter Jittisopha shields her face as they are taken to a cell at the Central Women’s Correctional Institution on Wednesday after being given lengthy jail terms for accepting bribes. (File photo by Patipat Janthong)

The Appeal Court on Friday rejected bail requests by former Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) governor Juthamas Siriwan and her daughter Jittisopha on the grounds they were deemed flight risks due to the severity of their jail sentences for taking bribes.

Ms Juthamas, 70, was given prison sentences totalling 66 years and Ms Jittisopha, 43, terms totalling 44 years on Wednesday for taking bribes totalling US$1.8 million for the hosting of the Bangkok International Film Festival.

The Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases also ordered the confiscation of the equivalent 62.7 million baht in cash from the overseas bank accounts of Ms Jittisopha.

Although her age makes the matter mostly academic, the former TAT governor can spend a maximum of only 50 years in prison for her crimes, a limit imposed by the Criminal Code.

The Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) indicted both women on Aug 25, 2015.

The lawsuit filed by the OAG charged Ms Juthamas with demanding a bribe from Gerald Green and his wife Patricia, an American couple, in exchange for them being awarded a 60 million baht contract to organise the annual Bangkok International Film Festival from 2002 to 2007.

Ms Jittisopha helped her mother to commit the offences by opening accounts in numerous foreign banks, and the American couple transferred US$1.8 million into these accounts, the court found.

Their lawyer, Thanakorn Waekwaree, filed a request for bail, offering surety of one million baht cash for each of his clients, pending appeal. The pair were put behind bars on Wednesday evening pending the Appeal Court’s decision on their bail requests.

The court’s decision to reject their requests was read out on Friday. The duo were sent back to the Central Women’s Correctional Institution to serve their jail terms.

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