Prasert, others given 14 days to comply

Prasert, others given 14 days to comply

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is demanding that three offenders, including billionaire Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth, pay civil fines worth a combined 499.45 million baht within 14 days or face legal proceedings by public prosecutors.

BangkokAir-Prasert-generic.jpg Bangkok Airways boss Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth and two associates have been fined a total of 499.45 baht, payable within two weeks, or further penalties will be assessed. (Post Today photo)

Last Friday, the SEC imposed a civil sanction on three major shareholders of SET-listed Bangkok Airways Plc (BA) on the grounds of manipulation of the share price.

Besides Dr Prasert, Poramaporn Prasarttong-Osoth and Narumon Chainaknan were found to be liable for share manipulation.

SEC secretary-general Rapee Sucharitakul said the wrongdoers must pay a stipulated civil fine within 14 days after the securities watchdog issued the notifying letter of the imposed civil sanction.

If the offenders fail to pay the fine within the stipulated period, the SEC will forward the case to public prosecutors for further legal proceedings, he said.

"The SEC had previously asked the offenders to clarify information and notified them of their offence," Mr Rapee said.

The securities watchdog received information from the Stock Exchange of Thailand, and further findings indicated that Dr Prasert, Ms Poramaporn and Mrs Narumon jointly traded BA shares continuously and conducted matching trading of BA shares among themselves, seen as a bid to cause misunderstanding about the price or volume of securities trading among the public.

This resulted in the price of BA shares behaving abnormally in the market in terms of price and volume, according to the SEC.

The trio are also barred from becoming executives or directors of listed companies and securities-issuing companies.

Dr Prasert has been the top individual gainer for six straight years with regard to the value of his personal holdings in four companies listed on the SET.

He is a major shareholder of Bangkok Dusit Medical Services Plc (BDMS), Bangkok Airways Plc, Nonthavej Hospital Plc (NTV) and Samui Airport Property Fund Leasehold (SPF).

Shares of BDMS on Monday plunged 8.5% from Friday's closing price, while BA shares tumbled 7.1%.

Dr Prasert, Ms Poramaporn and Mrs Narumon will aim to prove their innocence through the justice system, according to statements issued by BDMS and BA to the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

Dr Prasert and Ms Poramaporn have resigned from their positions at BDMS, while Dr Prasert and Mrs Narumon have resigned from their positions at BA, according to the statements.

Vitai Ratanakorn, secretary-general of the Government Pension Fund, said the GPF places an emphasis on the environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria and the fund will not invest in any debt instrument or securities of a company if such a firm has problems associated with the criteria.

In the event of having an existing investment unit in a debt instrument or securities, the GPF will gradually reduce its investment portion over a scheduled time frame in order to prevent any impact to the capital market, Mr Vitai said.

For the case involving Dr Prasert's share manipulation of BA equities, the GPF has stipulated that the company has not met the standard of ESG criteria, he said.

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