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Thailand: Probe Into Diageo Bribery Case Urged

Thailand: Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) is urged to probe Diageo-Thaksin government bribery case

In an interview broadcast live on Facebook, former NACC commissioner Medhi Krongkaew questioned why the case was not being pursued by the anti-corruption agency. The call refers to a Bt21-million bribery case involving a former senior Thai official from the toppled Thaksin government and the world’s largest liquor producer Diageo.

Mr Krongkaew said there was clear evidence that the bribe recipient was an executive with the Thai Rak Party, including during Thaksin Shinawatra’s tenure as prime minister.

However, the NACC has not taken action on the Diageo case, in which money was allegedly paid to the senior official to influence the Thaksin government’s decision to lower tariffs on imported spirits, including Johnny Walker Black Label. SEC documents also show that two meetings had been held between senior Diageo officials and Thaksin in 2005.

Details released by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) show that instalments of US$12,000 (Bt420,000) had been paid over 49 months to the Thai official.

Diageo settled its case in the US by paying a fine of nearly Bt500 million for violating the foreign corrupt practices law, but the case has gone nowhere in Thailand over the past five to six years. 

Mr Krongkaew added that after retiring from the agency, he was not able to follow up on the case, while US authorities had decided not to take criminal action against the company after it paid the hefty fine.

He said that he would certainly have pursued the case if he had remained with the NACC.

Source Website: The Nation