A court in Thailand sentenced former Indian financier Rakesh Saxena to 10 years in prison on Friday for embezzling tens of millions of dollars from a bank in Thailand during the 1990s. The Bangkok South Criminal Court, found Saxena guilty [Reuters report] of five counts of securities fraud between 1992 and 1996 when he was an adviser for the Bangkok Bank of Commerce. The court said that Saxena stole between $60 million and $82 million from the Bank of Commerce for his own personal use during his tenure there. Saxena's embezzlement caused the bank's collapse [BBC report] in 1996, which eventually caused a banking crisis that wreaked havoc across Asia. The court also ordered [Bangkok Post report] Saxena to pay 1.132 billion baht (USD $35.7 million) in damages. Saxena plans to appeal the ruling. More than two dozen fraud cases relating to the Bangkok Bank of Commerce are still pending.
Embezzlement is a major legal issue around the globe. Three weeks ago, Italy's high court cleared [JURIST report] former prime minister Silvio Burlesconi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] of embezzlement and fraud charges related to his commercial broadcast company, Mediaset. In November, Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom [official website] declared [JURIST report] that he will allow former president Alfonso Portillo [CIDOB profile, in Spanipersh] to be extradited to the US for charges including embezzlement and money laundering. Earlier in November, the State Tax Service of the Ukraine [official website] announced formal charges [JURIST report] against former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive] for embezzlement and tax evasion.