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Thailand Saxena - Banking fugitive extradited from Canada back in Thailand
NAME: THA SAXENA 20091031I TAPE: EF09/1024 IN_TIME: 10:19:10:09 DURATION: 00:01:04:14 SOURCES: TPBS DATELINE: Bangkok, 31 Oct 2009 RESTRICTIONS: No Access Thailand SHOTLIST: 1. Wide of former financial adviser Rakesh Saxena being brought out of police hospital on wheelchair 2. Wide of security 3. Saxena on wheelchair being brought down hospital steps 4. Wide of media filming Saxena as he is loaded on ambulance 5. Convoy of cars on road 6. Zoom in on Saxena inside ambulance as he is being wheeled out 7. Various shots of Saxena being wheeled into court building STORYLINE A fugitive former adviser to a Thai bank whose failure caused a crisis of confidence that helped spark the 1997 Asian financial meltdown was back in Bangkok on Saturday, facing prosecution after his extradition from Canada. Rakesh Saxena, 57, had staged one of the longest extradition battles in Canadian history to avoid being sent back to face charges he helped embezzle 88 (m) million US dollars from the Bangkok Bank of Commerce, which collapsed in 1995. The bank had about 3 (b) billion US dollars in bad debt when it was shut down. Saxena was a financial adviser to the bank, which made millions of dollars of fraudulent loans to cronies of the management. Its failure exposed the weaknesses of the Thai financial system, which had expanded meteorically with little oversight during Thailand's boom years, and helped trigger the devastating 1997 Asian financial crisis. The case continues to hold potential for causing trouble, because those who received dodgy loans include several still-prominent politicians. Politicians whose names were tied to the banking scandal include Newin Chidchob, influential head of a political faction in Thailand's current coalition government, and Pairote Suwannachawee, husband of Information and Communications Technology Minister Ranongrak Suwannachawee. Both have repeatedly denied any involvement. A spokesman for Thailand's Attorney General said Saxena, an Indian national, has over 20 cases pending against him under the Securities Exchange Act. Thailand's statute of limitations on charges under the law will run out in July 2010. Rakesh suffered a stroke last March and uses a wheelchair. Thai authorities originally charged Saxena in 1996 but he fled Thailand, and was arrested later that year in the British Columbia ski resort town of Whistler. He fought tenaciously against extradition, claiming he would be in danger if returned to Thailand because he could expose the wrongdoing of influential people. His lawyers early during his stay in Canada negotiated a deal under which he was allowed to stay in his own luxury apartment with guards that he was responsible for paying. He continued to carry out business deals around the globe during his detention, allegedly including the financing of an attempted coup in the African nation of Sierra Leone. However, he was later transferred to jail from house arrest.