Lawsuits ‘likely’ on KTB loans

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Banking officials gathering evidence on the Krung Thai Bank’s 12 controversial loans have found there may be grounds to file lawsuits because two or three are irregular, according to Manager Online.

But Bank of Thailand Governor MR Pridiyathorn Devakula said officials need additional evidence before taking legal action.

“We might have to wait for another two weeks to see whether there is enough evidence or not. It is not easy to sue somebody. We need time to make the judgement. We also have to determine whether the central bank would take legal action itself, or if Krung Thai Bank should go ahead and do it because it is the one that has suffered from the damage,” Pridiyathorn said.

Last year Krung Thai Bank was forced to set aside Bt10 billion in reserves to account for the 12 controversial loans worth a combined Bt46 billion. Banking authorities ordered the bank to reclassify the “sweetheart” loans as doubtful. The controversial lending affair eventually led to the removal of Viroj Nualkhair as president of the bank.

The loans were approved during the tenure of the bank’s prior executive board, led by Suchai Jaovisidha.

Central bank legal officials have submitted two or three cases that might have grounds for further litigation, Pridiyathorn said.

Suchai yesterday defended his role in the Krung Thai Bank lending affair by saying he is unperturbed by news reports.

“The central bank is doing its job. If they ask me to clarify, then I’ll go to clarify because I did not do anything wrong,” he said.

“There are five members on the executive board of KTB. Anything that was approved all came from these five members.”

The former executive board of Krung Thai Bank included Suchai, Viroj, Matchima Kunchorn Na Ayudha, Uttama Savanayon and Chainarong Indrameesap.

Chaiyawat Wibulswasdi is the chairman of the present executive board. Other members are Apisak Tantiworawong and Ratt Panichphand. Uttama and Chainarong retained their jobs when the new board was formed.

Sources said it the central bank was likely to file suits against officials involved in the loans.

Tarisa Watanagase, deputy governor of the central bank, said the BOT’s legal department would have to determine whether there are grounds for litigation.

Published on January 25, 2005

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