UK fraud charges for GT200 sellerBy Bangkok Pundit Jul 16, 2012 2:28AM UTC
In early 2010, BP blogged repeatedly on GT200 “bomb detectors” and other similar devices purchased by the Thai army and other government agencies. The GT200 device is a black plastic box with an antenna sticking out which was hawked to the Thai military and other agencies along with a few plastic cards for up to 1,000,000 baht a pop by the British firm Global Technical. The seller purported the device could detect bombs and drugs. BP first blogged about the GT200 device in October 2009. For further background, see this post from a few days ago which noted that the UK seller of ADE-651, a similar device to the GT200, and a device also sold in Thailand had been charged in the UK with fraud. In that post people write “[i]n June 2010, the police raided the seller of the GT200 device so will the GT200 seller be charged soon?”
Well, it didn’t take long. The UK Press Association:
Andrew Penhale, deputy head of the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] Central Fraud Division, said the charges related to the “alleged manufacture, promotion and sale of a range of fraudulent substance detector devices to foreign jurisdictions between 15 January 2007 and 12 July 2012.”
“I have authorised the City of London Police to charge five individuals. Gary Bolton faces two counts contrary to sections 2 and 7 of the Fraud Act 2006, relating to a device called ‘GT200′, which it is alleged was dishonestly represented as capable of detecting explosives.
“Samuel Tree, Joan Tree, and Simon Sherrard have each been charged with one count contrary to Section 7 of the Fraud Act 2006, involving an ‘Alpha 6′ substance detection device.
Mr Penhale said the suspects charged by City of London Police would appear at City of London Magistrates’ Court on July 18.
BP: The Alpha 6 was also sold in Thailand. As Saksith has blogged, there are mixed reports on whether the GT200 device is still being used in the Deep South, but Army Commander-in-Chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha has defended its effectiveness.
Voice TV quotes the very politicized DSI head Tharit as stating that there has not yet been any progress in the investigation into the purchase of the GT200 devices.
So will there been any conclusion to the investigation? An actual investigation into the purchase of military equipment? Well, BP is very doubtful as well the military are a state within a state and not subject to actual civilian control. Everyone is scared of upsetting the military so BP doesn’t expect much. There is still a problem when we have a non-Thai entity who are also investigating. Once there is a conviction in a foreign jurisdiction, it will be increasingly difficult for the Thai authorities to do nothing. Unlike the case of former governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (i.e Juthamas Siriwan), where the US charges filed charges not only against Hollywood producer Gerald Green and his wife Patricia for paying of bribes to Juthamas so they could manage the Bangkok International Film Festival, but the US also indicted Juthamas as well.* There is no chance of the British authorities charging the Thai purchasers of the GT200, ADE-651, and Alpha 6 devices so the case may languish and it will be forgotten (although BP will continue to monitor the situation)….
h/t to two readers
*Although, she is fighting the indictment. The indictment is complicated and she may not go to trial or be convicted. As explained (PDF) by two US lawyers:
Under the FCPA [Foreign Corrupt Practices Act], Siriwan is not prohibited from receiving bribes, yet the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) creatively decided to bring AML [anti-money laundering] charges in order to extend its otherwise insufficient jurisdictional reach. It will not be known for some time whether the moneylaundering theory will be sustained in court.