Thailand: Foul play on the fairway
Self-taught M&A expert Rakesh Saxena teed off a glittering career on Bangkok's exclusive Navatanee golf course. But he eventually helped drive Bangkok Bank of Commerce into the rough with a bunch of allegedly dubious deals. Five of Saxena's Thai associates are due to be tried for embezzlement and the Bank of Thailand is now trying to rescue BBC. Saxena made it away to Vancouver, where he awaits extradition proceedings. Meanwhile, he protests his innocence and hones his golf skills. Gill Maitland reports
The diminutive Indian whacked the ball hard and watched it disappear into the rough. After four months stuck in Vancouver his handicap was down to 18 and the course was getting a little too familiar. His hands were cold and he yearned to be back with his businessman and financier friends on the Navatanee course in Bangkok. Alas, the Canadian authorities had seized his passport and they weren't planning to give it back in a hurry. Reflecting on happier days, Rakesh Saxena sat at the 19th hole and dreamed of the days when a round of golf with the right people could mean the start of another lucrative takeover deal for him to get his teeth into.
It was at just such a game eight years ago that he first met Krirkkiat Jalichandra, then a cut-and-thrust financier who promised to fix up Saxena with a job at his bank, Bangkok Bank of Commerce (BBC). The name reverberated around Saxena's head. It was the lucky break that had given him the chance to put together deals that would make him a household name in Thailand, as familiar to stock-watching taxi drivers as to the prime minister.