Thailand PM's family sells stake in Shin Corp.

MUMBAI: Thailand prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's family has sold its 49.6 per cent stake in the telecom company Shin Corp. to Singapore's Temasek Holdings.

In its statement to the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET), Shin Corp. said Pintongta Shinawatra, Bhanapot Damapong, Phantongtae Shinawatra, Yingluck Shinawatra and Busaba Damapong had sold their shares in Shin Corp. to Temasek Holdings.

Founded by Shinawatra in 1990, Shin Corp. controls Shin Satellite which owns Thaicom, country's most prominent mobile phone network Advance Info Service (AIS) and the television network iTV. Shin Corp. also holds a stake in discount carrier AirAsia.

A group led by Temasek and Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) "reached an agreement with the Shinawatra and Damapong families to acquire their 1,487.7 million shares or 49.6 percent stake in Shin Corp.oration Pcl (Shin Corp.)," a press statement issued by Temasek said.

Speaking to reporters, Thaksin named the buyer of his family's stake in the company only as 'the fund', but Singapore's state-linked investment firm Temasek was widely reported to be the buyer. The SET also did not name a potential buyer of the shares.

'Many potential buyers approached the company, but they decided to sell to the fund because they want the company to remain strong,' Thaksin has been quoted in media reports as saying.

One of Thailand's richest men, Thaksin has been battling accusations of corruption and cronyism. He has been under constant accusations of mixing his family telecommunications empire with affairs of state. Most recently, iTV's telecast of an interactive show anchored by Shinawatra invited a lot of wrath from the political opposition, who described it as a misuse of resources.

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