11 July 2024

Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has agreed to bar Thonburi Healthcare Group (THG) Chairman and CEO Dr. Boon Vanasin from holding any executive post in the company for 42 months and has fined him 2.3 million baht for alleged share price manipulation.

The SEC said that the 42-month ban will take effect only when Dr. Boon agrees to accept the financial sanction. If not, the SEC will take legal action against him in Civil Court.

Dr. Boon was faulted by the SEC for violating Section 240 of the Securities and Exchange Act B.E. 2535 (1992) by disseminating information to the media in July last year, claiming that THG was in the process of signing a deal to procure Pfizer mRNA vaccine, with the first lot of five million doses expected in Thailand in August of that year.

Such a report could cause misunderstanding concerning the performance of the company which, in turn, could affect the company’s share price, according to the SEC.

Dr. Boon had claimed that THG was in the process of closing the deal with a government agency, which he declined to name. The claim was, however, subsequently refuted by both Pfizer-BioNTech and the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO).

He then told Thai online media “Kom Chad Luek” that the deal was with the Defence Ministry, but this was also denied by the ministry’s spokesman.

In July last year the SEC received a complaint, claiming that Dr. Boon’s statement to the media about the vaccine deal might constitute share price manipulation.

A THG official sent an urgent letter to the Stock Exchange of Thailand, denying that Dr. Boon had ever told Thai media about the vaccine deal with the Defence Ministry, but claimed that it was trying to procure mRNA and other vaccines “for Thai people”.

On August 4th last year, Dr. Boon announced he had given up all efforts to procure mRNA vaccines because it was too difficult.

At the time, several private hospitals had tried to procure mRNA vaccines via state agencies, to meet demand from people who could afford and wanted to pay for the vaccines, because they did not trust the effectiveness of the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine, which was being provided free of charge.

Only the Chulabhorn Royal Academy, GPO, the Disease Control Department, the National Vaccine Institute and the Thai Red Cross Society were then authorised to procure vaccines directly from the manufacturers.

Dr. Boon and his wife, Charuvan, are major shareholders in THG. THG’s share price soared 13.45% to 31.50 baht on July 15th last year, after he told the media about the vaccine deal. The share price fell back to 28.25 baht on August 6th following news of the collapse of the deal.