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Friday, July 6, 2007

Politicians accused of seeking bribes

FBI report identifies prominent figures in bomb-scanner scandal

Graft busters have received a report from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that identifies prominent politicians who demanded bribes for the procurement of CTX 9000 bomb scanners for Suvarnabhumi Airport.

"The FBI outlined pertinent negotiations on the CTX deal and revealed the discovery of the US Justice Department to confirm Thai politicians were involved in the bribe demands," a source said.

The FBI report was sent to an investigative panel appointed by the Assets Examination Committee (AEC) to uncover culprits in the CTX deal. It is being translated from English and will be used as prosecution evidence.

The source said that in spite of the incriminating evidence supplied by the FBI, the panel was not expecting to conclude its report any time soon because of the difficulty in getting testimony from some witnesses.

After months of searching, the panel only recently found the address of a Japanese man suspected of acting as a broker for bribes in the deal.

The man used to work with a contractor for the airport and was targeted for graft indictments by the AEC.

In a related development, the AEC-appointed Amnuay Tantara subcommittee will meet on August 24 to review an appeal to release Bt100 million of frozen assets linked to ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

The appeal was lodged on Tuesday by Chinnicha Wongsa-wat, daughter of Thaksin's sister Yaowapa Wongsawat.

Meanwhile, lawyer Somsak Toraksa yesterday submitted former defence minister Thamarak Isarangura's written testimony on his role in the Cabinet resolution approving the Bt90-million rubber saplings project.

The AEC is conducting a hearing on graft indictments stemming from the controversial project as part of pre-trial preparations.

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