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Thaksin to sell Shin stake to son

September 6, 2000

WITH eyes cast to the political future, Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife Pojamarn have agreed to sell most of their 35-per-cent stake in their telecom empire Shin Corps Plc to their son, Phanthongthae, and to Pojamarn's brother.

      Panthongthae's stake in Shin Corps will be worth Bt13.2 billion, making him Thailand's richest heir. Panthongthae turned 21 earlier this year.

      Thaksin's sale of his Shin Corps holdings is being done to comply with electoral laws that prevent Cabinet members from owning more than 5 per cent of any company, or any stake in any company that might pose a conflict of interest while in public office. Thaksin hopes to be the next prime minister.

      Thaksin and his wife have agreed to transfer a 24.9-per-cent stake, or about 73.3 million shares, in Shin Corps to Panthongthae, according to a joint filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

      The transaction price is Bt10 per share, compared |with the market price of Bt178.

      Thaksin and Pojamarn will sell another 10 per cent of Shin Corps, or about 26.8 million shares, to Bannpoj Damapong, Pojamarn's brother, also for Bt10 per share.

      Afterward, Bannpoj will hold 13.7 per cent, or 40.4 million shares, of Shin Corps worth Bt7.2 billion.

      Thaksin's wealth is concentrated in Shin Corps, his telecom flagship, and its subsidiary, Advanced Information Services, the country's largest mobile-phone operator. His net worth is estimated at Bt50 billion.

 Thaksin and his wife will hold 2 to 3 per cent of Shin Corps after the deals are completed.

 Political sources said Thaksin needs to divest his business interests ahead of the general election later this year to comply with electoral laws.

 "Khun Thaksin |has set his sights for the long haul. He knows that he'll be in big politics, so it is necessary that he does everything to comply with the law," said a political source from the Thai Rak Thai Party.

 There are two relevant laws. The first, passed last year, prohibits a Cabinet member from holding more than 5 per cent of a company's share capital.

      The law allows Cabinet members to transfer their holdings into a blind trust or mutual-fund company.

      The second law, Article 100 of the National Counter Corruption Commission Act, prevents Cabinet members from holding an interest in any company that might benefit from his or her public office.




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