Thursday, July 10, 2008

Italian-Thai Development, Japanese Partners(Nishimatsu), Corruption and Lazy Thai Media

Japanese contractor allegedly bribes Thai officials

By The Nation

A former executive of Nishimatsu Construction Co. has told Japanese prosecutors that the Japanese general contractor paid more than 400 million yen or Bt125 million in 2003 to Thai government officials. Kyodo News Agency reported Monday.

What the lazy and worthless Thai media won't tell you is that it was actually Italian-Thai Development Company that was the local managing partner in the contract.

From The Nation(a routine company report published back in 2003:

Italian-Thai development has informed the Stock Exchange of Thailand that its joint venture firm, Nishimatsu Construction Co Ltd, has signed a contract with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to construct a BMA flood protection tunnel. The contract is worth Bt2.09 billion. The company holds 51 per cent in the joint venture firm.

Italian-Thai Development seems to be a busy little company when it comes to being knee deep in corruption scandals.

I think some of us may remember Italian-Thai's role in the CTX scanner controversy, which also encompassed another case of a foreign company and corruption in Thailand. Notice the name of the Japanese companies who are Italian-Thai's junior partners.

An excerpt from an archived story from The Nation:

The Suvarnabhumi Airport scandal follows what appeared to be a simple contract award following a tendering process early last year. In March 2004, ITO Joint Venture, jointly owned by Italian-Thai Development Plc, Takenaka Corp and Obayashi Corp, was awarded the Bt4.3-billion contract to install Suvarnabhumi’s baggage-handling system by New Bangkok International Airport Co Ltd (NBIA). Under the 566-day contract, ITO agreed to build 22 kilometres of conveyor belts inside the passenger terminal. Redesigned to meet higher security standards following the September 11 terrorist attacks, the belts were to be the first in the world to have in-line explosives-detection screening. Twenty-six CTX 9000 machines made by InVision Technologies Inc were selected to do the job. Without an office in Thailand, InVision appointed Patriot Business Consultants Co Ltd as its local distributor to deal with ITO. According to Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit, the deal went through smoothly until GE Infrastructure and InVision Technologies came up with a merger plan. It was during consideration of the merger plan by US authorities that price discrepancies in InVision’s foreign dealings were picked up and, in July, InVision said the US Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission might launch an investigation into alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by its distributors. The act bars US firms from paying bribes to obtain business abroad. GE and InVision could not merge because their agreement stated that acquisition could not proceed if there was “any pending or threatened investigation by a governmental authority” that could lead to criminal sanctions, penalties or fines. The allegation of improper payments made to government officials and politicians in three countries – China, the Philippines and Thailand – followed. InVision voluntarily disclosed to the agencies “possible offers of improper payments” by its foreign distributors during June 2002 through June 2004. But while the sales to China and the Philippines involved only two machines each, in Thailand, it was a matter of 26 machines. InVision said in its admission that it began competing for the Suvarnabhumi sales no later than 2002. From at least January 2003 through April 2004, it had been aware of the high probability its distributor intended to fund any “gifts or offers” out of the difference between the price the distributor paid to InVision and the price for which it resold the machines to the end user. In April 2004, ITO Joint Venture agreed to purchase the machines, and Patriot quoted the price of US$46 million (Bt1.8 billion), which was $10.2 million, or Bt404 million, above InVision’s price. It remains a mystery why ITO was given the higher price for the machines and where the Bt404 million was to go.

Wait, there is more, not only is Italian-Thai Development linked with the corruption involving the BMA tunnels, the airport scanners, and the cracks in the airport, but it was also a major player here:

Italian-Thai: Ua Athorn contract Italian-Thai development yesterday signed a contract to build six Baan Ua Athorn low-income projects worth Bt9.6 billion for the National Housing Authority. The six projects will be located in Lat Krabang, Phutthamonthon 4 and 5, Setthakij 1, Ratthanathibate, and Rang Sit Krong 1. They are slated for completion within 18 months.

And read what happened recently:

AEC indicts ex-minister for bribery

The Assets Examina-tion Committee yesterday indicted eight individuals for corruption relating to Bt1.2 billion in kickbacks over construction of the UA Athorn housing project.

They included former social development and human security minister Watana Muang-sook, his aide Mana Wongpipat and former MP Arisman Pongruangrong.

The remaining suspects are business executives allegedly involved in bribery and money laundering to secure the contract.

"Of the 15 contractors for the UA Athorn project, eight have been linked to the Bt1.2 billion in bribes and evidence has clearly shown that the minister and his middlemen demanded and received kickbacks," AEC member Kaewsan Atibhodi said.

The shitty and worthless Thai media would love to make the Nishimatsu story about the Japanese bribing BMA officials during Samak's tenure as governor in order to bring down Samak's government.

The bigger story is Italian-Thai Development Company.

Why is Ital-Thau part of every single major corruption scandal in Thailand, costing the Thai taxpayers billions of baht, yet the Thai media is silent about it.

I wonder how much advertising money the Thai media rakes in from Ital-Thai, because their silence on Ital-Thai's crimes is deafening.

The Thai media loves to harp on corrupt government officials(that they never name or expose) that it only reports on when a foreign government indicts, yet never, and I mean never investigates corrupt Thai corporations linked to the government.

I have just uncovered a major story here.

Will the Thai media do anything about it? Nope.

Will the Thai media keep allowing Ital-Thai to get away with its criminal behavior in exchange for advertising cash? Yes.

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