Two top Finance Ministry officials accused of shady Bangchak stock trade


THE Securities and Exchange Commission has reported that two senior Finance Ministry officials who are directors of Bangchak Corporation Plc had traded in this company’s shares while it was in the process of acquiring most of Esso Thailand’s shares, Matichon newspaper said this morning (Feb. 17).

A review of SEC’s website shows that during Dec. 2022-Jan. 2023 the two Bangchak directors had traded a certain amount of the company’s shares. This followed the company having approved acquisition of Esso Thailand shares in Sept. 2022 with an agreement to purchase 65.99% stake, mainly from ExxonMobil Asia Holdings Pte., signed on Jan. 11, 2023.

This transaction is expected to be completed in the second half of the year.

The two senior Finance Ministry officials who are also Bangchak directors and had traded shares were identified as Mr. Chamroen Phothiyod, director-general of the Treasury Department, and Ms. Kulaya Tantitemit, director-general of the Comptroller General’s Department.

The SEC said in its report that Chamroen had purchased a total of 600,000 shares with 200,000 shares obtained on Dec. 22, 2022 at 31 baht apiece, another 100,000 shares on the same day at 30.75 baht apiece, and on Dec. 26, 2022 an additional 300,000 shares were purchased at 28.14 baht apiece. On Jan 12, 2023 he sold 150,000 of these shares at 34.75 baht.

Meanwhile Kulaya had on Dec. 28, 2022 purchased 300,000 shares at 28.14 baht each.

This raises a question of insider trading because as Finance Ministry’s representative directors this would be considered unethical and the two of them cannot claim that they did not know about this as it has been in practice for a long time.

A Finance Ministry source said that its executives had received this report on its senior officials trading shares of a company in which they represent the ministry as directors with raising ethical issues as they are forbidden from doing so. Should such a company want to give shares to the ministry the representative directors have to inform the ministry, after which a decision would be made whether to accept it or not.

Meanwhile Chamroen admitted to have purchased 300,000 shares as allowed by Bangchak for each director to do so. While he did buy an additional 300,000 shares he pointed out that he sold 150,000 of this lot and had already informed the ministry and SEC.

Kulaya too admitted to purchasing 300,000 Bangchak shares but explained that this was properly done as part of 18 million shares allocated to all board members and employees as yearend reward with each board member allowed to buy 300,000 of them.

She added that she does not normally trade in stocks but did exercise her right to acquire this lot of shares which she immediately told her broker to sell.


Senior Finance Ministry officials Mr. Chamroen Phothiyod and Ms. Kulaya Tantitemit. Photos: Matichon

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