Thailand seeks $2.5 billion from Temasek’s TV firm

6 Nov 06

The Thai government should seek more than 94 billion baht ($2.56 billion) in damages from broadcaster ITV PCL in a licence fee dispute, a committee in charge of resolving the dispute said on Monday.

The committee, comprising mostly officials of the Prime Minister’s Office, said ITV, owned indirectly by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings [TEM.UL], should be sued by the Attorney General, a senior PMO offical told reporters.

“The committee has approved submitting the ITV licence fee case to the Attorney General within this week,” Julayuth Hiranyawasit said.

The Attorney General would decide whether to submit the case to a Thai court, he said.

The PMO, the department which owns the concession licensed to ITV, sued the broadcaster in 2004 to overturn an arbitration ruling which cut the company’s licence fee payments to the government.

In June, the government said it would fine ITV 76 billion baht for breaching its licence fee agreement and the broadcaster filed a legal appeal against the decision which has not been heard yet.

The committee decided that sum should be raised to more than 94 billion baht, Julayuth said.

ITV is 53 percent-owned by Shin Corp. , which has been controlled by Temasek since the family of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, ousted in a Sept. 19 coup, sold a majority stake in Shin to the Singapore state firm in January.

On Monday, ITV shares were unchanged at 2.84 baht while the main index rose 0.36 percent. ($1=36.70 Baht)

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