Banking scandal fugitive linked to Asian crisis back in Thailand after extradition from Canada
BANGKOK, THAILAND — A fugitive former adviser to a Thai bank whose failure caused a crisis of confidence that helped spark the 1997 Asian financial meltdown arrived Friday night in Bangkok 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 million from the Bangkok Bank of Commerce, which collapsed in 1995. The bank had about $3 billion 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.
A spokesman for Thailand’s Attorney General said Saxena 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.