New trade rep 'not blacklisted'

New trade rep 'not blacklisted'

Nalinee: Now in the clear
Nalinee: Now in the clear

The newly-appointed Thai trade representative, Nalinee Taveesin, on Sunday addressed media reports which cast doubt over her background and qualifications, saying all misunderstandings in the past have been cleared up.

She was referring to her blacklisting by the United States Department of the Treasury about a decade ago over her alleged business ties with the sanctioned regime of then-Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe. Her sanction was announced after she was named a Thai trade representative for the Yingluck Shinawatra administration.

Ms Nalinee refused to step down when the allegations surfaced in January 2012, insisting her relations with the Mugabe family were strictly social. A complaint was lodged with the Office of Ombudsman which reviewed her case and found nothing against her.

Ms Nalinee's appointment as a trade representative for the Srettha Thavisin administration was acknowledged by the cabinet on Sept 13. Shortly after her appointment was announced, reports about the US sanction re-emerged.

Responding to criticisms, Ms Nalinee said her name is no longer on any sanction list, before adding she has documents issued by the US government to support her claim.

"I have a visa for the US, and I've been invited to join the Fourth of July celebrations several times, including this year."

Ms Nalinee, who also served as the PM's Office Minister in the Yingluck administration, said her credentials have been verified by the authorities prior to her appointment.

When asked to clarify if she was related to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, Ms Nalinee said she has no family connections with the PM. She said she met him only recently at a campaign event.

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