BoT begins probe into SAM's NPA and NPL sales

BoT begins probe into SAM's NPA and NPL sales

The Bank of Thailand is investigating irregular transactions at Sukhumvit Asset Management (SAM) related to non-performing asset (NPA) adjustment and non-performing loan (NPL) sales.

Ronadol Numnonda, deputy governor for financial institutions stability at the Bank of Thailand and director of the Financial Institutions Development Fund (FIDF) and a major shareholder in SAM, said SAM has appointed an investigation subcommittee to investigate the company's management of irregular transactions.

As a major shareholder of SAM that emphasises good governance, the FIDF has sent four experts with more than 30 years of investigation experience combined to be part of the subcommittee, said Mr Ronadol in a statement. The investigation is scheduled to take 60 days.

If any wrongdoing is found, those who are responsible will be prosecuted, said Mr Ronadol.

Established in 2000, SAM was founded in the aftermath of the 1997 Asian financial crisis as a state-backed asset management company.

SAM is the country's second largest state-owned asset management company of distressed assets with NPLs under management of 340 billion baht and 20 billion worth of NPA from 3,600 assets as of Oct 31.

Mr Ronadol said the FIDF's board of directors have added one director to SAM's board of directors in order to accelerate the process of selecting a new president.

The FIDF will closely monitor SAM's business management and supports the company as a state mechanism in managing NPLs and solving the household debt problem through the Debt Clinic scheme, said Mr Ronadol.

SAM chairman Krisada Sektrakul said the company held a board meeting on Dec 16 and the board expects the investigation on NPA irregularity to be completed within this month.

For the irregularity in NPL sales, the investigation process is expected to be completed within 60 days, said Mr Krisada.

"The company has ended the contract with the former president and the board has approved the company's director, Panute Na Chiangmai, as acting president. The company is proceeding with selecting a new president," Mr Krisada said in a statement.

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