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Thailand Police Crackdown on Nominee Shareholders

Transcript of the above video: 

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing nominee shareholders here in the Kingdom. 

For those who are unaware, unlike other jurisdictions nominees in Thailand are specifically illegal. Thailand has what is called the Foreign Business Act and under the provisions of the Foreign Business Act, it is illegal for foreign nationals or for foreign companies, to undertake certain types of business activities here in the Kingdom. Now that being stated, a corporation in the Kingdom that is majority Thai owned is not considered a foreign company and therefore does not need to worry about the provisions of the Foreign Business Act. That stated, after the Foreign Business Act  was created, nominees became rather frequent as a way to sort of for lack of a better term "circumvent" the rules under the FBA but subsequent to nominees coming into wide usage, we saw a change in the paradigm here, a change in policy, and laws were actually promulgated which specifically illegalized nominees. The question of what is a nominee can get rather complex but that being stated, for purposes of this video understand nominees are not legal in the Kingdom of Thailand. 

It recently came to my attention via the Nation, that is nationthailand.com, The article is titled: Russian Woman Arrested for Allegedly Using Thai Nominee in Business. Quoting directly: "Immigration Police have arrested a Russian business woman who has been in hiding for 3 years since a warrant on charges that include using Thai nominees to run a real estate firm in Pattaya." Quoting further, "She was arrested on charges of being an alien carrying out business prohibited to foreigners." 

So the reason I bought this up is somewhat twofold; two thing that I think I noteworthy. First of all, Thai Police continue and the law enforcement community in Thailand continues to view nominees as a major issue and secondly it also notes ”running a real estate firm"! As I have mentioned in many other videos on this channel, Thailand and the law in Thailand is very clear. Foreign nationals are not allowed to own land, real estate if you will, in the Kingdom and those individuals or those entities that begin engaging in activity which allows foreigners to own land, let me be let me be clear on this. It is actually possible for a foreigner to own land in the Kingdom but that transaction if you will needs to have needs to be signed off by the Minister of the Interior so it requires a great deal of work to get that done and it may not even be possible. The Minister of the Interior might say "no, I am not going to sign off on that." So the thing to take away from this video is "yes it is possible but as a practical matter it is not particularly frequent that a foreign National is permitted ownership of land in Thailand. In fact I would say quite the opposite. It is very, very infrequent.

But what needs to be taken away from this is nominees are not only of increasing concern or of concern to the Thai Police here in the Kingdom, but also nominees especially used in terms of real estate, that can cause some real issues for people operating in Thailand as evidenced by this woman who was arrested on a warrant issued here and presumably, if convicted, I think it is safe to say that that individual will possibly have to serve sometime incarcerated before being deported back to her home country.

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