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KTB chief to impose discipline

High-ranking executives were found to have acted dishonestly in extending loans to Energy Earth.

Krungthai Bank's board of directors has delegated KTB chief executive Payong Srivanich to take responsibility for proceeding with disciplinary actions against several of the bank's executives and employees who were found to be implicated in extending loans to Energy Earth Plc.

A probe of the loan extensions found wrongdoing by former and current high-ranking executives, as well as low-level staff, and a report was submitted to KTB's board, said a banking source who would not reveal names.

The bank is unable to take disciplinary action against former employees, the source told the Bangkok Post.

Bringing criminal action against wrongdoers is beyond the authority of KTB's management team. That is the responsibility of the National Anti-Corruption Commission Office and the Anti-Money Laundering Office, the source said.

KTB, the country's largest state-controlled bank, provided credit facilities to Energy Earth during the reign of former president Apisak Tantiworawong, who is now finance minister. The loan extensions continued during the tenure of ex-president Vorapak Tanyawong and current head Mr Payong.

The country's fourth-largest lender by assets launched a probe into the loan of 12 billion baht granted to Energy Earth after the coal miner failed to redeem two lots of bills of exchange (B/Es) worth 90 million baht that were due in June 2017.

KTB filed a complaint with the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to probe an accusation that Energy Earth might have used a fabricated coal import document to seek a 12-billion-baht loan from the bank, which is the company's largest creditor.

KTB's initial probe accused Earth Energy of forging a shipping document claiming it imported coal from Indonesia to back a loan request.

The bank has filed both civil and criminal lawsuits against Energy Earth and related parties in parallel with undertaking business rehabilitation by filing complaints with the DSI in September 2017.

The company's financial problems snowballed when a raft of B/Es defaulted, triggering cross-default debentures worth 5.5 billion baht, compounded by failed efforts to seek fresh funding from financial institutions.

Energy Earth's business rehabilitation plan, arranged by EY Corporate Advisory Services Ltd, was rejected by the Central Bankruptcy Court.

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