Indian financier Rakesh Saxena jailed over 1990s crisis-era fraud in Thailand

BANGKOK Fri Jun 8, 2012 4:38pm IST

Rakesh Saxena is assisted by policemen to get into wheelchairs as he arrives at the Bangkok's criminal court in Bangkok June 8, 2012. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom

Rakesh Saxena is assisted by policemen to get into wheelchairs as he arrives at the Bangkok's criminal court in Bangkok June 8, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom

Related Topics

BANGKOK (Reuters) - A Thai court jailed an Indian financier for 10 years on Friday for massive embezzlement that helped bankrupt a Thai bank in the mid-1990s and spark a crisis in the financial sector that spread through Asia in 1997.

Rakesh Saxena, 59, was found guilty on five counts of securities fraud between 1992 and 1995, having siphoned off tens of millions of dollars from the now defunct Bangkok Bank of Commerce, where he was employed as an adviser.

The scandal that engulfed Bangkok Bank of Commerce caused a run on bank deposits and led to the bank's collapse, contributing to the devaluation of the baht and the regional crisis. Saxena was arrested in 1996 but was extradited from Canada only in 2009.

The Bangkok South Criminal Court heard how Saxena had set up 60 businesses in Thailand and used them to secure loans from the bank to cover debts and running costs, but instead channelled the money into personal accounts, mostly in Switzerland.

"The defendant clearly demonstrated his intention to take funds from the damaged party to invest for his own personal use, depositing the funds into several overseas accounts," the judge said in reading the verdict.

Estimates of the money he stole from the bank vary from $60 million to $82 million. The court did not give a total.

Saxena, wearing orange prison fatigues and in a wheelchair, appeared frail and confused as the sentence was passed. He was also ordered to pay 1.13 billion baht in damages and a 1 million baht fine.

He was arrested while skiing in Canada but fought off extradition attempts until three years ago, arguing that Thai investigators had no real evidence against him and that he would be tortured and killed if he was forced to return.

On Friday, he said he would not give up the fight. "We have to appeal, of course," he told reporters. "This sentence is absolutely wrong."

Saxena, who at one point tried to flee Canada on a fake passport, has been embroiled in other controversies, including allegations that he planned to finance a coup in Sierra Leone, where he was involved in diamond mining.

According to media reports in Thailand, more than two dozen fraud cases related to the Bangkok Bank of Commerce saga are still pending and embezzlement by Saxena and other executives caused losses of more than 40 billion baht.

(Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Alan Raybould and Jacqueline Wong)

FILED UNDER:
  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Pending Reform

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Power Theft

Power Theft

India to invest $4 billion to tackle power theft  Full Article 

Debt Funds

Debt Funds

India monitors foreign flows into debt funds, may tighten rules  Full Article 

Bulgari Back in India

Bulgari Back in India

CEO: we shouldn’t have left India so we’re back  Full Article 

 Hindu "Modi-fication"

Hindu "Modi-fication"

Fears grow about Hindu "Modi-fication" of education  Full Article 

Weak Credit

Weak Credit

Hard to hit tax revenue target, credit weak - Jaitley  Full Article 

China Rate Cut

China Rate Cut

China surprises with interest rate cut to spur growth  Full Article 

Gold Imports

Gold Imports

RBI cautious on response to gold import surge  Full Article 

Economic Corridor

Economic Corridor

China commits $45.6 billion for economic corridor with Pakistan  Full Article 

Overseas Funds

Overseas Funds

RBI says overseas borrowed funds can be parked with banks in India  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage