The Commerce Ministry has initiated a probe into cases of foreign shareholdings in Thai companies that are above the 49% legal limit.
Deputy Commerce Minister Siriwat Kachornprasart said on Thursday that he has assigned the Department of Business Development (DBD) to work with the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) in launching an in-depth probe into any irregular foreign shareholdings among Thai-based companies.
The probe has been initiated after the spread of rumors, which suggested that there are quite a number of local companies, particularly those in hospitality (hotel) and agro-industry sectors, with more than 49 percent of shares held by foreign investors and entities. Noticeably among those are alleged Middle-Eastern investors setting up agricultural businesses.
Foreign shareholding that exceeds 49 percent is illegal in Thailand.
Mr. Siriwat said that the DBD has been conducting such probes in various provinces, including Chanthaburi, Rayong, Trat, Phuket and Chonburi. And, so far, no irregularities have been confirmed.
The Deputy Commerce Minister, however, threatened those who have broken the laws to be prepared for maximum legal actions.
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