Anand Panyarachun is an iconic Thai, at the highest level of the elite establishment for a variety of reason such as being a coup installed prime Minister that is seen as the best prime Minister, a coup have ever installed.
And of course, as a high ranking member of the elite establishment, Anand is anti-Thaksin and Yingluck. For example, having been interviewed and reported by the Bangkok Post that, quote: “Anand Spurns Yingluck Reconciliation Moves.” There are other attack on Thaksin and Yingluck. And the latest, is that Anand have come out to say, quote, “I have never been more concern with corruption in Thailand than now.” That “Now” of course, means Thailand under the Yingluck’s government.
While in general, the history has remembered Anand well and have treated him as a statesman of Thailand, to even today, Anand is the head of a powerful group of Thais fighting corruption, there are a few Thais, who differ than what the consensus says, and accuses Anand, of being a highly corrupt person.
These Thais points to many cases while Anand was the Prime Minister of Thailand, as proof. One such case, involves the selling of oil refineries that belonged to the Thai state, when Anand was the Prime Minister.
When Anand was propped up by the coup people as PM, Thailand had 2 oil refineries, meaning they belonged to Thailand, but run and operated by another management firm, Thai Oil, since back then, when Anand was the PM, Thailand had little skill in managing an oil refinery business. Then the contract came up for the extension of the run and operate of the refinery by Thai Oil, and the firm offered Thailand about 12,000 million baht total, for about 7 to 10 years return package. Thai Oil chairman of the board is from the Chakijavanich family, same last name and relative of Korn Chakijavanich, Abhisit‘s Dems side-kick and former Thai Finance Minister.
It is unknown as to why, but suddenly Anand broke off into a new direction, and said he will sell the refinery. Without any bidding for the refinery, Anand reached an agreement to sell the refinery at about 8,000 million baht or about US$250 million, where other parties interested in buying the refinery made offers, with one making puplic statement that he was willing to pay 14,000 million baht, almost double, what Anand sold it. Against other higher offers, and again no bidding, Anand, again, unilaterally made a decision to sell and executed the selling, and sold the refinery at about 8,000 million baht, to a group lead by Chakijavanich family. The new owner eventually listed the refinery in the stock market, and today, the market capitalization, is about US$3 to 4 billion.
What is interesting, is that while history has treated Anand well, and today, he is seen as an iconic figure, back then, when Anand sold the refinery, many of Thailand’s press were shocked. Anand, in fighting off graft questioning, held a check worth 8,000 million baht in the air, in showing the press the check, and said the deal to sell the refinery was a done deal, here is the money to prove, and saying other offer were questionable. He never answered, why was there never a bid involved in the selling, and targeted only selling to one buyer.
Many do not remember the 8,000 million check in the air event, but many Thais today, still remember.
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