DTAC avoids suit over foreign ownership

Dylan Bushell-Embling
13 Jul 2011

Thailand's DTAC has escaped legal action over its foreign ownership structure for the time being.

The new government's Commerce Minister had reportedly directed the Business Development Department to file a lawsuit against the company, which is accused of breaching Thai law restricting foreign ownership of more than 49% of a telco.

But the head of the department resisted the instruction, Bangkok Post said, on the grounds that it constitutes a direct political intervention. In any event, the department may lack the authority to pursue such a case.

The department's findings in the DTAC case will instead be sent to the police for them to determine whether the law had been broken.

The minister has since insisted that his letter to the department had been misinterpreted.

The attention over DTAC's ownership started when rival True Move filed a criminal complaint alleging that foreign companies including Telenor own more than 70% of the company.

DTAC and Telenor have argued that the ownership structure is in compliance with Thai law, and said they would comply with any changes to the law that do get made.

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