Thursday, December 20, 2007

A TJTS Special Investigative Report: Who is Craig Prater?

Craig Prater is the guy with the George Hamilton tan standing next to former TAT chief and former President of the Bangkok International Film Festival, Juthamas Siriwan, who just resigned from the Pua Paendin Party because of her alleged involvement in a corruption scandal involving Gerald and Patricia Green, a Hollywood power couple supposedly responsible for the Bangkok International Film Festival 2003-2006.

Well, according to my Googling prowess, Craig Prater was executive director of the BIFF, not Gerald Green.

From Craig Prater's resume at his production company Camelot Event Management:

Bangkok International Film Festival
Bangkok, Thailand
Executive Director
2002-2006 (According to the affidavit 2004-2006; he fudged his resume,or not?)

Responsible for the operations of two offices: 1) Bangkok, Thailand; 2) Los Angeles, California. Responsibilities include: Fundraising, Promotions and Advertising, Corporate Sponsorship; Special Events, General Administration inclusive of policy and procedures, event guidelines, development and execution of a $15-$18,000,000.00 annual budget.

Interesting how he takes responsibility for the budget but not for the bribes. Question: How did the Greens profit from bribing Juthamas if Prater controlled the budget?

According to the FBI affidavit, Craig Prater ("CW-1") ratted the Greens to the FBI:

18. On July 9,2007, FBI SA Farrell A. Binder ("SABinder") and I interviewed a cooperating witness ("CW-1"), who indicated the following:

a. In 2003, defendant GERALD GREEN hired CW-1to work for FFM to manage the BKKIFF. Defendant GERALD GREEN had secured the contract for the 2004 BKKIFF before he hired CW-1, but defendant GERALD GREEN had no prior work experience managing film festivals;

b. CW-1 worked for FFM on the BKKIFF from 2004 to 2006;

c. Defendant GERALD GREEN had a close relationship with the Governor. All meetings to discuss the financial and contract details of the BKKIFF were handled behind closed doors, solely between the Governor and defendant GERALD GREEN. CW-l and other company staff, including defendant PATRICIA GREEN, were not allowed to attend these meetings. CW-l was never advised of the contract amount defendant GERALD GREEN had negotiated with the Governor, nor the projected or actual profit generated from the BKKIFF contract;

This is very unusual. I think the FBI is covering Prater's butt. Why would Prater be responsible for the general budget but have no clue about the profits being generated?

d. Defendant GERALD GREEN told CW-l that the Governor had authority to approve payments by the TAT to foreign entities up to a specified dollar amount.


At some point during CW-l's employment, defendant PATRICIA GREEN advised CW-l that she needed another company for the BKKIFF. Defendant PATRICIA GREEN asked to use the name of CW-1's company, FOF, to open up a bank account for BKKIFF business. CW-1 agreed and went with defendant PATRICIA GREEN to the bank to open up an account for FOF. CW-1 signed the bank account application, but did not have signature authority on the account;

WTF? Something fishy about this. He opened a bank account under his company's name and didn't have signature authority? What kind of BS is this?

f. Defendant PATRICIA GREEN also asked CW-1 to permit the use of another company owned by CW-1 to receive payments from the TAT for reimbursement of costs incurred to promote the BKKIFF. CW-1 agreed and received four checks from the TAT totaling in excess of $200,000, which CW-1 immediately reimbursed, via check, to the bank account of "Festival
Management, Inc.";

g. At the beginning of each festival year, CW-1 prepared a budget of the anticipated costs associated with the BKKIFF, which CW-1 provided to defendant GERALD GREEN. The final budgets defendant GERALD GREEN provided the TAT included certain inflated figures;

FOF in the affidavit=Festival of Festivals, Prater's event/company

From a TAT press release:

Prater, no stranger to working on film festivals, most recently served as the Director of the International Festival of Festivals, an annual 17-day event, which hosted 100 international films. He is also the former Executive Director of the Palm Springs International Film Festival

More from the Affidavit:

CW-1 recalled that when CW-1 was preparing an initial budget for the BKKIFF, CW-2 told him not to forget to leave enough money in his budget for ~the Governor's commission." CW-1 understood from that day on that the Governorof the TAT would receive a commission from each BKKIFF contract.

Again, more BS, and I don't know what the FBI is trying to pull here. Craig Prater was the Executive Director, knowing full well that the company's books were being cooked to give "commissions" to Juthamas, yet he declares that he was only an ED in name only whilst the Greens were pulling all the strings and making all the dodgy deals behind his back.

I would like to know how much Prater was getting paid and what kinds of kick backs he was receiving from all the sponsorships. The BIFF had major corporate sponsors that he has taken responsibility for in his own resume.

Also, the affidavit doesn't state what the motive was for all this corruption. Other than the contract, what consideration did the Greens receive from this deal?

According to the affidavit, the only crimes alleged so far are a conspiracy to bribe, bribing a foreign government official, and the cover-up.

Let us not kid ourselves. US corporations bribe foreign governments all the time. Hell, the US government bribes foreign officials all the time. If the FBI was really concerned about US corporations bribing foreign officials, the FBI would be doing nothing else.

So what I think happened here is that CW-1 and CW-2 lost a lot of potential money because of the coup(because Juthamas got booted), or the Greens didn't pay them for services rendered, or something else, because corporate officers just don't capriciously turn state's evidence on their bosses because of the goodness in their hearts and moral integrity.

I haven't figured out who CW-2 is.

I have read the entire affidavit, which is convincing.

I think it is hilarious that Juthamas is crying that she is innocent and will sue the justice department for slinging mud when the evidence against her is quite clear. Maybe she will act like OJ Simpson and search for the real culprit.

There is no way that the FBI and federal prosecutors could indict and prosecute the Greens if they can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Juthamas took bribes. That is their case.

So, even if Juthamas sued the justice department for "mud slinging", she would just be incriminating herself. Besides, what motive does the FBI have for framing poor Juthamas?

What she did was launder money and steal from the Thai tax payers. I hope the government pursues this and gets the money back. Probably wishful thinking on my part. The puuyais never pay the piper.

Just because the Thai media and the Thai government are worthless about pursuing the corruption of their friends and allies doesn't mean the US media gets a pass.

I hope they do some digging like I did and find out the extent of Craig Prater's involvement and the identity of CW-2, the bookkeeper, who obviously knows where all the bodies are buried.

When all else fails, follow the money.


Red and White said...

It's just knee-jerk pu-yai behavior. "You dish the dirt, I'll sue you because I'm rich and I can do that". She probably realises it doesn't work on the yanks, but she just can't help herself. Lock her up.

Thai Observer said...

I think the most disturbing bit about your post, Fonzi, is probably the bit you are most resigned about: "The puuyais never pay the piper."

A sad truth. Very sad, for Thailand.

Wise Kwai said...

The festival was held in 2002, but at that time it was organized by the Nation Group and the TAT. After 2002, the Nation split to start its own festival, the World Film Festival of Bangkok.

TAT carried on with the BKKIFF from 2003, and hired Festival Management that year.

According to various accounts of the 2003 festival, Patrick de Bokay was "worldwide executive director".