Bank­ing scan­dal fugi­tive linked to Asian cri­sis back in Thai­land af­ter ex­tra­di­tion from Canada

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - World -

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.

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