Vol. VI No. 20 - Tuesday
July 10, - July 16, 2007



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


BUSINESS 
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Sharp baht rise only temporary says Finance Minister

Hearings for Thaksin’s siblings postponed

Sharp baht rise only temporary says Finance Minister

Finance Minister Chalongphob Sussangkarn said the baht appreciation to the strongest level in a decade would proceed only in a short run since it was driven by a foreign capital influx into the stock market.
He said the continued baht rise is not worrying. It is a duty of the Bank of Thailand to supervise its movement.
He also viewed the short-term repurchase rate is lowest at present. However, it depended on whether the Monetary Policy Committee would decide to adjust it at the next meeting on July 18.
Meanwhile, the baht continued to hit a new record high last Thursday while trading on the Stock Exchange of Thailand experienced a heavy profit-taking by investors with the composite index dropping to stay in a negative territory.
A money dealer said the baht strengthened to 34.1 to the US dollar, the strongest in a decade, at the opening bell.
It is expected the currency would further appreciate and stay at around 33 to the dollar by the end of this year since foreign capital continued to flow into Asia in a large amount.
The dealer said the US economy is projected to run into trouble. So, it is likely the US Federal Reserve would further cut key interest rates, which could make the greenback further weaken against other currencies.
Foreign investors have accumulated Thai stocks with a net buying of more than 100 billion baht since early this year. TNA


Hearings for Thaksin’s siblings postponed

A sub-committee of Thailand’s anti-corruption Assets Examination Committee (AEC) which is currently probing into missing profits of Shin Corp. share sale to Singapore’s Temasek Holdings in January 2006 has allowed two children of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to postpone their testimony on charges laid against them.
AEC spokesman Sak Korsaengruang told a press conference that the sub-committee held a meeting last week and agreed on allowing Mr. Thaksin’s son Panthongtae Shinawatra to testify to the sub-committee on July 18 at 9.30 am. The postponement was made after the accused said he was ill and sent a medical certificate requesting that his appearance be delayed as he was unable to testify.
Regarding Thaksin daughter Ms. Pinthongta, who earlier said she was unable to travel to Thailand and testify because she had to sit for a university examination in England, Mr. Sak said the subcommittee had decided to postpone its hearing to August 24 at 10 am.
The AEC earlier asked the Revenue Department demand a corporate tax collection of Bt20.89 billion (US$616 million) from the offshore company Ample Rich Investments, saying that the two children of Mr. Thaksin were liable for the tax since both were company directors at the time of the transaction.
The sub-committee found that Ample Rich had earned income from the Shin Corp share sale, dividends and profits, and must pay taxes on the transaction since it conducted its business in Thailand, despite being an offshore company registered elsewhere.
AEC had earlier concluded that Mr. Panthongtae and Ms. Pinthongta were liable for tax on a transaction last year in which the two bought 329.2 million Shin Corp shares from Ample Rich for one baht each and sold them the next day to Singapore’s Temasek Holdings for Bt49.25 each.
Ample Rich is a holding company set up by Mr. Thaksin in the British Virgin Islands. The AEC said the company was established as part of a scheme to avoid paying taxes on the sale. It was only discovered after the sale that both Panthongtae and Pinthongta were owners of the firm.
AEC member Kaewsan Athipho has said the committee ruled Mr. Panthongtae and Ms. Pinthongta intended to evade taxes by selling the shares indirectly. Both registered the firm overseas but conducted business in Thailand. So, they must pay taxes like other corporations, Mr. Kaewsan said. TNA



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