Several high-profile businesspeople report to junta

Economy May 27, 2014 00:00


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SEVERAL LEADING businesspeople reported themselves to the National Council for Peace and Order yesterday, following the order issued on Sunday night.

Srettha Thavisin, president of Sansiri – a listed property development company, was the first among them to be at the NCPO centre. He was known as a long-time friend to Kittiratt Na-Ranong, former deputy prime minister and finance minister. When Kittiratt managed the national football team, Srettha unofficially provided assistance. He also met former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, when she was the CEO at SC Asset, another listed property development firm.
Following him was Anant Asavabhokhin, president and chief executive of Land & Houses. As a majority shareholder and chief of the country’s largest property firm, he has also been acquainted with Yingluck while she served SC Asset.
The order also summoned other businessmen, including Premchai Karnasuta, president of Italian-Thai Development, one of Thailand’s largest construction firms.
Premchai has a major stake in the firm. ITD is one of the construction companies that set up a joint-venture firm with a Chinese company to bid for a project under the Bt350-billion water-management programme planned by the Yingluck government. The JV is one of five groups awarded contracts worth up to Bt100 billion to develop the mega-project.
Others are Watchai Vilailuck, president of Samart Corp, and Apichart Chansakulporn is a former owner and managing director of President Agri Trading.
Samart businesses include mobile retail distribution and bidding for state information and communications technology projects. As of March, subsidiary Samart I-Mobile owned a 4.63-per-cent stake in M-Link Asia Corp, which is supervised by Yingluck’s elder sister Monthathip. Watchai had secured a 2.2-per-cent stake in M-Link. 
Meanwhile, Apichart allegedly has a close relationship with Wattana Muangsuk, a former Pheu Thai Party MP, and Yingluck’s brother, Thaksin. During Wattana’s stint as commerce minister, President Agri won the bid for 1.79 million tonnes of rice from the government’s stocks for export to Indonesia. It is one of biggest amounts sold by the Commerce Ministry to private rice exporters. Later, President Agri Trading went bankrupt. He was allegedly associated with Siam Indica, a company that won some rice deals from the Yingluck government.