More than $500 million in bank shares transferred on Thai king’s behalf

The Crown Property Bureau, which manages the multi-billion dollar assets of the royal family, had reduced its shares in Siam Commercial Bank by 3.33 percent on October 2. (AFP)
Updated 07 October 2017
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More than $500 million in bank shares transferred on Thai king’s behalf

BANGKOK: The financial arm of Thailand’s ultra-rich monarchy has transferred bank shares worth more than $500 million on behalf of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The SEC filing said the Crown Property Bureau, which manages the multi-billion dollar assets of the royal family, had reduced its shares in Siam Commercial Bank by 3.33 percent on October 2.
That stake is worth 16.9 billion baht ($505 million) based on Friday’s closing share price of 151 baht.
The beneficiary of the shares was not specified but the move was carried out on the King’s behalf, the filing said.
The CPB, who now has an 18.14 percent stake in the bank, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The opaque agency does not declare its wealth but analysts estimate it manages between $30-60 billion in assets, making Thai royals among the richest in the world.
The CPB’s financial portfolio ranges from massive property ownership to investments in major companies, such as Siam Commercial Bank and Siam Cement Company.
Like all things regarding Thailand’s secrecy-shrouded monarchy, scrutiny of the CPB is curbed by a draconian defamation law that shields the royal family from criticism.
The transfers come after legal amendments passed in July gave King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who took the throne one year ago after the death of his father, direct control over a committee that oversees the CPB.
Under the previous law, the committee’s chairman was the finance minister, a move meant to ensure some semblance of government oversight.
The move was the latest in a series of steps by the new monarch to consolidate his control over the palace bureaucracy.
All media based in Thailand must self-censor when reporting on the monarchy to avoid violating the lese majeste law.


Pakistani authorities bar Musharraf from July polls

Updated 11 sec ago
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Pakistani authorities bar Musharraf from July polls

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s elections oversight body has rejected the nomination of former military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf, barring him from running for office in elections to be held next month.
The Election Commission of Pakistan on Tuesday rejected Musharraf’s candidacy for a National Assembly seat from the northwestern constituency of Chitral.
Musharraf is facing a treason case in Pakistan, lives in self-exile in Dubai and failed to appear before the country’s top court earlier this month. Subsequently, the court last week withdrew permission to allow Musharraf to run for office.
Election authorities also rejected nomination papers of former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, longtime politician Imran Khan, and former lawmakers Aysha Gulalai and Mahtab Abbasi from Islamabad. They can appeal. They are also contesting from other constituencies.