STOCK PROBES: Regulators keep eye on PM’s brother

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Thaksin’s younger sibling Phayap is major shareholder in mining firm under SET scrutiny over financial dealings

One of the listed companies under the watch of the stock-exchange authorities is Sino-Thai Resources Development Plc, a mining company. Its major shareholder is Phayap Shinawatra, the younger brother of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Phayap, according to financial sources, has turned out to be another key investor in companies listed in the rehabilitation sector, which is now under close scrutiny by the exchange authorities.

The au-thorities have found unusual financial or stock transactions in rehab companies, as they are easy targets for takeovers. Some executives are suspected of cooking the books of such companies in order to create the impression that they make high profits.

Sino-Thai Resources Develop-ment is also being watched, though no official action has yet been taken, financial sources said.

Other companies on the list are Picnic Corp, a cooking-gas producer and distributor; Eastern Wire, a producer of wire rod; Power-P, a construction company; Agripure Holdings, a canner and exporter of sweet corn; and EMC, another construction firm. The authorities have ordered Picnic to revise its financial statements, Eastern Wire to clarify dubious financial transactions, and Power-P to explain three irregular financial transactions.

Phayap – a Thai Rak Thai MP from Chiang Mai – played a key role in buying Sino-Thai Resources Development from Sino-Thai Engineering Group. He holds 919,000 shares or 4.6 per cent in the company, according to the stock exchange.

Phayap’s son Phirun has been appointed as a director of Sino-Thai Resources Development, while his good friend, Suthisak Lohsawasd, is chairman, with a stake of 500,000 shares or 2.5 per cent.

Suthisak is a member of the National De-fence College Class of 4414, known as another group of investors monitored by the authorities.

The Nation yesterday reported on the role of the Suriya-Picnic group, led by Deputy Commerce Minister Suriya Lapwisuthisin, in investing in rehab firms. The Class of 4414 can be linked with the Suriya-Picnic Group.

Suthisak is also chairman and executive chairman of Eastern Wire, holding 2.84 per cent of the firm. Once, when Eastern Wire came under criticism that it was a “political stock”, Suthisak came out to defend the company.

“Eastern Wire is not a political stock. We have a son of the prime minister [Panthongtae] as a shareholder with 10 million shares, or 3 per cent. We have to thank him for acting as an investor and coming on board with us,” he said in an interview with Business Thai last October.

However, Panthongtae’s name did not appear on Eastern Wire’s shareholders’ roster as of April this year.

Suthisak has also brought in Lt-General Veerasak Phairaj, his classmate at the National Defence College, as an independent director of Eastern Wire. Suriya also used to sit on the board of Eastern Wire.

Another key member of this group is Rachasak Susevi, chairman and executive chairman of Power-P. He holds 24 million shares, or 11.57 per cent, in the firm, whose shares have fallen widely into the hands of relatives of politicians. Rachasak also holds 9.57 million shares or 2.47 per cent in Eastern Wire, and more than 24 million shares or 1.69 per cent in Picnic.

He used to declare that “I am not a nobody” because he has lots of friends in high places such as Boonklee Plangsiri, chairman of Shin Corp, Dr Kongkiat Opaswongkarn, and Phayap. They all are part of the Class of 4414.

The fifth key member of this group is Kanoksak Pingsaeng, also belonging to the Class of 4414. He is a big-time businessman and a high-society figure. Although he is not a direct investor, he has established good links with Pol Maj-General Somyos Phumphanmuang, who is known to be an active stock investor.

Somyos is now one of the members of the audit committee of Eastern Wire. He owns 13.53 million shares in Picnic and 1.8 million in Agripure Holdings.

Published on June 15, 2005

Financial Reporters

The Nation

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