The Associated Press June 8, 2012, 03:25AM ET

Thai bank adviser sentenced to 10 years prison

A former adviser to a Thai bank has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay $36 million in fines and compensation for embezzlement that helped spark the 1997 financial crisis.

Bangkok's Criminal Court ruled Friday that Rakesh Saxena "damaged the country's economy."

Saxena, an Indian national, was an adviser to the now defunct Bangkok Bank of Commerce which made fraudulent loans to cronies of its management.

The bank had $3 billion in unrecoverable loans when it was shut down. Its failure exposed the weaknesses of the Thai financial system and helped trigger the devastating 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.

Saxena was charged in 1996 but fled to Canada. He was extradited to Thailand in 2009.

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