( AFP ) - A Los Angeles-based businessman and his wife have been arrested for paying 1.7 million dollars in bribes to a Thailand government official for the right to manage the Bangkok International Film Festival, the Justice Department said Tuesday.
Gerald Green, 75, and his wife Patricia, 52, were arrested after a criminal complaint was filed in Los Angeles on December 7.
Investigators allege the couple conspired to pay more than 1.7 million dollars in bribes to a senior official with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to win a film festival contract and other deals worth more than 10 million dollars.
A Justice Department statement said the Greens set up a company -- Film Festival Management -- in 2003 to bid for the rights to stage the Bangkok International Film Festival.
Between 2003 and 2007 the Greens allegedly funneled cash to the Thai tourism official who used the money to influence the awarding of the contracts for the film festival, which is run by the TAT.
The recipient of the alleged bribes was not identified in the Justice Department statement.
The Greens face up to 10 years in prison if convicted on all charges, the statement said.
The Bangkok International Film Festival is one of the biggest events of its kind in Asia and has been held annually since 2002.