Two senior Finance Ministry officials under suspicion for insider trading
The directors-general of the Treasury and Comptroller-General departments are suspected of involvement in insider trading, in violation of the code of conduct of the Finance Ministry, in connection with the purchase and sale of the shares in Bangchak Corporation.
The suspicion was raised by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in a report to the Finance Ministry, regarding the purchase and sale of Bangchak shares by Chamroen Phothiyod, director-general of Treasury Department, and Kulaya Tantitemit, director-general of the Comptroller-General Department.
Both Chamroen and Kulaya are members of the board of Bangchak, representing the Finance Ministry, and reportedly had access to details of talks between Bangchak Corporation and Exxon Mobile to acquire stakes in Esso (Thailand) Public Company, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobile, by Bangchak.
According to the SEC’s report, Chamroen bought 600,000 shares Bangchak Corporation between December and January last year, 200,000 shares at 31 baht each and 100,000 shares at 30.75 baht on December 22nd and another 300,000 shares at 28.14 baht on December 26th.
On January 12th, Chamroen sold 150,000 shares at 34.75 baht each.
Kulaya, meanwhile, bought 300,000 shares at 28.14 baht on December 28th.
The SEC observed that the two directors-general bought and sold Bangchak shares while the company was in the process of acquiring a stake in Esso (Thailand) and that the two directors might have had access to inside information, which may contravene the Finance Ministry’s ethical code.
An informed source said that the Finance Ministry has acknowledged the SEC’s report and will consider how to deal with the case.
Chamroen, meanwhile, admitted to the media that he was offered 300,000 Bangchak shares, in his capacity as the board member, adding that he later bought another 300,000 shares and sold 150,000. He insisted that he reported the purchase and sale of the shares to both the Finance Ministry and the SEC.
Chamroen said that he, normally, is not interested in share trading and when he had acquired the shares as a board member, he immediately sold some of the shares. He insisted that he did not engage in insider trading.
Kulaya, meanwhile, admitted that she was offered the shares by Bangchak, like other staff of the company, adding that the company had allocated 18 million shares for its staff and board.
She bought 300,000 shares, which were offered to her without an intention to get involved in share trading, and asked a securities company to sell them all.
She insisted that she has no Bangchak shares in her portfolio and has reported the share purchase and sale to the Finance Ministry, adding that she quit as a board member of Bangchak on January 1st.