BoT yet to take action in KTB case

BoT yet to take action in KTB case

Former executive cries foul over probe

The Bank of Thailand has yet to take action against Kittiphun Anutarasoti, chief executive of CIMB Thai Bank (CIMBT), after Krungthai Bank (KTB) made public the findings of its investigation into loans extended to Energy Earth, which included serious allegations against him.

The central bank said it is waiting for additional information from KTB.

"If true, KTB's findings about its former executives would affect the qualifications and reliability of such people to be executives at financial institutions," said Chantavarn Sucharitakul, assistant governor for corporate strategy and relations. "But the former executive in question submitted a letter calling for fairness, and the Bank of Thailand believes further clarification from KTB is needed."

Mr Kittiphun cried foul over KTB's probe, saying he was never notified about the charges, nor was he allowed to clarify his actions to the panel. The findings allege that he was culpable for misconduct and fraud that benefited himself and others, resulting in huge damage to KTB from loans extended to Energy Earth when he was a high-ranking executive overseeing corporate banking business.

According to a Bangkok Post report earlier this week, KTB's board of directors delegated Payong Srivanich, the bank's chief executive, to proceed with disciplinary action against several of the bank's executives and employees who were found to be implicated in extending loans to SET-listed Energy Earth.

KTB, Energy Earth's largest creditor, launched a probe into the 12 billion baht granted to Energy Earth after the coal miner failed to redeem two lots of bills of exchange (B/Es) worth 90 million baht that were due in June 2017. KTB filed a complaint with the Department of Special Investigation to probe an accusation that Energy Earth might have used a fabricated coal import document to seek a 12-billion-baht loan from the bank.

Mr Kittiphun said he joined KTB in October 2013 to oversee the corporate loan business, after which the bank extended loans to Energy Earth twice, each time worth 4.5 billion baht, in early and mid-2015 and the lending was approved by the bank's board as normal practice.

After Mr Kittiphun resigned in 2017, KTB was the lead underwriter for Energy Earth bonds worth 5.5 billion baht to retail investors, while the two batches of loans remained performing at that time, he said, adding that Energy Earth's B/E default eventually triggered a cross default.

Mrs Chantavarn said the central bank always prioritises appointments of high-ranking executives at financial institutions by setting forth their qualifications in line with practices by central banks around the world in supervising financial institutions as a way to maintain confidence.

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