Hollywood couple convicted of Thailand bribery

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A U.S. jury has convicted a pair of married Hollywood producers of paying more than $1.8 million in bribes to a former Thai government official in charge of tourism, in part so they could manage the Bangkok film festival, American authorities said on Monday.

In return for the bribes made between 2002 and 2007, Gerald and Patricia Green obtained Thai government contracts for the festival and other dealings that funneled more than $13.5 million to their companies, U.S. prosecutors said.

They were convicted late on Friday by a Los Angeles jury of multiple counts of conspiracy, bribing a foreign official and money laundering but the sentence was only widely reported on Monday. Patricia also was convicted of a tax violation.

The couple could receive a prison sentence of 10 years each when they are sentenced on December 17, said assistant U.S. attorney Bruce Searby. Their lawyer said they would appeal.

Gerald Green, 77, produced Oliver Stone’s 1986 film “Salvador” and more recently was an executive producer on the 2006 movie “Rescue Dawn”. Patricia Green, 52, helped produce television shows including 1980s series “China Beach.”

The Greens were prosecuted in U.S. federal court, under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a law that makes it illegal for Americans to bribe foreign officials.

Their attorney, Jerome Mooney, said the Greens turned the Bangkok International Film Festival into a star-studded event, attended by the likes of actor Michael Douglas.

But U.S. prosecutors said that in their corrupt dealings, the Greens set up decoy business listings to hide the large amounts of money they received from Thai government contracts.

Juthamas Siriwan, the former Thai tourism official whom U.S. authorities say received the bribes through her daughter and a friend, has denied wrongdoing. She was associated with former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 military coup and convicted in absentia of corruption.

Editing by Alan Elsner