KRUNGTHAI denies granting loans for rice pledging scheme

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BANGKOK, Feb 3 – Thailand’s state-owned KRUNGTHAI Bank’s board of directors brushed aside reports that the bank is giving out loans to the caretaker government’s rice-pledging scheme.

Payungsak Chartsutipol, bank director and chairman of the board of executive directors, said the board of directors had not been told by bank president Vorapak Thanyawong of loans to be issued to the rice

scheme. However, Mr Payungsak said Mr Vorapak had already rejected media reports on the matter.

Social media have widely reported on the government’s attempt to push Krung Thai Bank into lending to the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC), the state’s financial arm in dealing with farmers.

Mr Payungsak viewed that such reports might have stemmed from ill-intentioned persons wishing to create misunderstanding among the public. He added that although the government is the bank’s major shareholder, KRUNGTHAI Bank is a listed company in the Stock Exchange of Thailand and needs transparency when it comes to its operations.

Mr Payungsak, meanwhile, said he has not been contacted by caretaker Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong about the rice loans.

A meeting is taking place today among the bank’s executives. It is reported that loans of Bt130 billion to the government, to be given at Bt20 billion/month, might be considered.

People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC)’s secretary-general Suthep Thuangsuban, meanwhile, announced on a stage rally to anti-government protesters that the group is monitoring any irregularities in

commercial banks this week and will march there for a shutdown in case any banks plan to lend to the caretaker government.