11 July 2024

One of Thailand’s longest-running embezzlement scandals, which led to the collapse of the Bangkok Bank of Commerce (BBC) in 1995 and an extradition battle in a Canadian court over a key suspect, concluded yesterday (Monday), with the Thai Supreme Court upholding the conviction and 335-year imprisonment of Indian-born Rakesh Saxena, a former financial advisor to the bank.

The court also ordered him to pay 2.5 billion baht in compensation.

Since the maximum term of imprisonment under the Thai criminal law is set at 20 years, Saxena will, however, only serve 20 years behind bars.

The Supreme Court’s verdict was read yesterday by the Bangkok South Criminal Court, with the proceedings being livestreamed to Saxena in prison.

Saxena was charged with fraud and embezzlement for involvement in the extension of loans to several companies, without proper examination of their financial status and without the approval of the bank’s executive committee.

The first court found him guilty of fraud and embezzlement and violations of the Securities and Exchange Act in three lawsuits.

Then president of the now defunct BBC, Krirkkiat Jalichandra, was also implicated in the scandal and was sentenced separately to 20 years in prison. He died in 2012.

Saxena fled to Canada to seek refuge, after a warrant was issued for his arrest in 1996. Thai police sought his extradition, but Saxena fought this in a Canadian court until November 2008, when he lost the case and was returned to Thailand to stand trial.