148 foreign firms under scrutiny as Thailand cracks down on illegal businesses
148 foreign companies are being investigated for using Thai nominees to register as juristic entities in Thailand.
This is part of the Commerce Ministry’s campaign launched last year to prevent the use of Thailand as a base for illegal business operations.
Of the 148 firms under scrutiny, 140 are in Phuket, four in Chiang Mai, three in Surat Thani and one in Bangkok, Deputy Commerce Minister Sinit Lertkrai said on Tuesday.
He said the ministry’s Department of Business Development has been working with the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), the Tourist Police Bureau and the Department of Tourism to look into suspicious businesses, especially in the tourism and real-estate sectors.
He added that the DSI is studying these companies in detail and will take legal action if there is evidence of the law being broken in the registration or share-transferring processes.
The department has called on all foreign-owned businesses to submit a bank statement detailing the financial status of all shareholders, both Thai and foreign, before and after the business was registered to check for any unusual transfer of shares to and from nominees.
Sinit said the campaign will continue into next year, while the Department of Business Development will also educate the business sector about the business registration process, prohibitions and other regulations under the 1999 Foreign Business Act, to ensure all foreign businesses comply with Thai laws.
He warned that any companies caught using nominees as shareholders will face a fine of up to 1 million baht as well as a penalty of 50,000 baht per day until the issue is fixed. The company’s director and the nominee too will be hit with a maximum of 1 million baht fine and/or up to three years in prison.