Thai court jails banker who helped spark Asia crisis

A Thai court on Friday sentenced a former Indian financier to 10 years in prison over a multi-million-dollar fraud case that helped trigger the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

Rakesh Saxena was accused of embezzling 1.7 billion baht ($52 million) from the Bangkok Bank of Commerce while working as an adviser in the mid-1990s.

The Criminal Court in Bangkok ordered Saxena to pay a fine of one million baht and return more than 1.1 billion baht of misappropriated funds, a court official told AFP.

If Saxena -- who arrived at court in a wheelchair -- cannot pay the fine his prison sentence will be increased by up to two years, the official said.

The Bangkok Bank of Commerce collapsed in 1995 and Saxena fled to Vancouver. He lost a 13-year fight against extradition and was deported to Thailand in 2009.

The failure of the bank contributed to the turmoil that led to the 1997 Asian financial crisis and the devaluation of the Thai baht.

Source: AFP

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