Gemstone appraisal scam whistleblower facing criminal defamation charges in Thailand
In the next two months, Jeffery Bergman and his legal team will expand and refine their considerably in-depth cross-examination, during which they intend to expose Miguel Zenetos’ many false and unsupportable statements printed in the 200+ pages he submitted to the court.
Bangkok, Thailand, June 2, 2023: Pre-trial hearings in the criminal defamation case filed by a Brazilian gemologist, Miguel Zenetos, against Jeffery Bergman, an American gemstone dealer and gemologist based in Bangkok, Thailand, will begin on August 10, 2023. The presiding judge of the Thonburi Criminal Court in Bangkok set the date in August to ensure that the attorneys for the plaintiff and defendant would have access to the complete original police reports.
On Monday, May 29, the courtroom of the Thonburi Criminal Court was packed to standing room only with Bergman’s legal team of five attorneys, friends, and business associates from Thailand, Myanmar, Pakistan, Brazil, Russia, Israel, France, Germany, and the USA, all Bangkok residents.
Miguel Zenetos, however, showed up alone, without the Italian Pietro Bagaini, the only other witness Zenetos had listed in the filed court documents. Bagaini owns 100 kilograms of low-grade rough ruby that Zenetos had appraised for US$3 billion, the first grossly fraudulent appraisal Bergman had encountered and exposed online.
Zenetos and his young male and female Thai attorneys were visibly taken aback by the massive display of support for Bergman in the small courtroom. In the uncomfortably icy-cold air-conditioned space, Zenetos frequently wiped the sweat off his head while fiddling nervously with his mandatory Covid-19 mask and obsessively unfolding, examining, and refolding two well-worn pages of notes.
In Thailand, formal court proceedings of criminal defamation cases require a preliminary hearing to determine if a trial will be tabled. Therefore, the presiding judge asked Bergman if he would be willing to remove his posts from social media, apologize, and consequently pay Zenetos his travel and legal expenses, in addition to US$70,000 in damages and thus avoid criminal defamation prosecution and a possible prison sentence. Bergman answered that he would not do so.
Next, Bergman’s attorneys requested from the judge that the complete original police report would be made available for the trial. After examining copies of the report, Bergman’s legal team believes that Zenetos presented the Thai Royal Police with highly suspect and erroneous information. Feeding the police false information is a crime that can result in a prison sentence of up to five years per count in Thailand. Bergman’s attorneys argued they needed the original report to prove this conclusively.
With the judge’s consent, Bergman’s attorneys convened briefly with Zenetos’ attorneys. They explained to the plaintiff’s lawyers that many of the statements and claims Zenetos had submitted to the court were highly improbable. When Bergmans’ attorneys pointed out what Zenetos would be risking were he to proceed with the case, Zenetos’ male attorney was visibly riled, constantly wringing his hands.
Zenetos then offered to drop the requested damages of $70,000. If Bergman removed his “objectionable” posts from social media, apologized, and paid Zenetos’ travel and legal expenses, he would drop the charges. Addressing Bergman, the judge carefully explained the meaning of defamation in Thailand and asked if Bergman would accept Zenetos’ new offer. Bergman calmly, politely, and firmly explained that he would not, as everything he had published was true.
One of Bergman’s attorneys briefly left the courtroom with Zenetos’ attorneys to confer privately. He explained that Bergman’s legal team had discovered several questionable statements in Zenetos’ testimony, that Bergman was adamant about taking this to trial as he was confident that everything he had exposed and published was true and wanted the opportunity to prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt to the court.
In Thailand, to subpoena a police report usually takes around six weeks to process. Therefore, after consulting their calendars, the judge and attorneys agreed to begin the pre-trial hearing on August 10. Practically, this means that Zenetos must remain in Thailand until that date, or return to Brazil, only to return to Thailand in August. Zenetos’ attorneys carefully reiterated the risk he was taking by not dropping the case. Visibly agitated, Zenetos then jabbed his finger rudely at his female attorney’s chest, causing her to step back wide-eyed.
Bergman, who during the entire proceeding had remained seated with his lead attorney and wife, also a Thai lawyer, then rose and thanked each of his supporters by name, shaking their hands.
Bergman commented: “So now we wait. If Zenetos decides to drop the charges, his attorneys will notify us by mail. If not, we will meet again on August 10. My legal team and I have another two months to expand and refine our already considerably in-depth cross-examination, during which we intend to expose Zenetos’ many false and unsupportable statements printed in the 200+ pages of testimony he submitted to the court. We’re getting back to work. After all, like revenge, a good defense is a dish best served cold.”
For further information contact attorney Nadthasiri Bergman LLM email@example.com
Attorney Sanya Iadjongdee, Rising Sun Law Co., Ltd. firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeffery Bergman, AGA ASG www.EighthDimensionGems.com