40,000 suspected of breaches

The Business Development Department is in the process of inspecting as many as 40,000 companies to see if they have used nominee structures to hold shares for foreign investors _ a practice prohibited by the Foreign Business Act. According to department director-general Kanissorn Navanugraha, the investigation would continue even though draft amendments to the law are unlikely to be passed by this government.

These 40,000 companies are foreign-Thai ventures. The department's initial inspection found that the majority shares of 3,000 firms were held by foreigners.

Mr Kanissorn said 1,800 of these companies fell under the Board of Investment and foreigners legally held more than 50% of shares. This privilege is granted on the condition that the firms transfer technology to locals and bring in investment capital.

He said that officials were randomly examining the remaining 1,200 firms to see whether any were BoI-promoted companies.

Since May, his department has taken legal action against six companies for breaching the law.
Mr Kanissorn said that a more comprehensive investigation would continue into 12 big companies, including DHL Logistics (Thailand), DTAC, Bolero-Tak Wu Holdings and Cencar Co.

source: Bangkok Post 04.09.2007