Thai Law Enforcement Continues to Crack Down on Illegal Business Nominees in Phuket

Phuket –

The Thai Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has continued a crackdown on what they say is mostly illegal Russians, Pakistanis, and Indians using Thais illegally as business nominees in Phuket.

On Thursday (June 6th) officers from the DSI led by Mr. Taweewat Surasit and Phuket officials with search warrants from the Phuket Provincial Court inspected several accounting and law offices. Two places are in Kathu and another place of business is in Rassada. The specific names of the businesses were not released by relevant authorities.

Mr. Taweewat told the Phuket Express that last year they found about 60 major accounting companies with illegal and undisclosed foreign shareholders. Many foreigners from European countries and Russia are “secretly” operating real estate and accommodation businesses, Taweewat stated.

Meanwhile, many Pakistanis and Indians are “secretly” operating restaurant businesses, said Taweewat. These businesses have generated in total at least 200 million Baht but Taweewat cautioned that the number has not included real estate businesses yet. The DSI is still in the process of collecting evidence for further investigation.

The Phuket Express has seen a significant amount of confusion around this crackdown and wanted to take a moment to clarify some things.

A “nominee” is essentially when a foreign national “nominates” a Thai national to be the legal license holder and on-paper owner of a business, skirting Thai law around foreign business ownership.

In reality, in illegal nominee cases, a foreigner or group of foreigners are the sole owners and the Thai name is usually just a paid employee with no actual ownership or business decisions made. This Thai nominee is usually given extra money by the true owners to be the legal license holder.

The DSI is not cracking down on legitimate legal business partnerships or married couples in which a foreign national has a legal percentage of a business per Thai law. They are only targeting illegal nominees, which although common in Thailand, and for a long period of time not enforced, is indeed against Thai law.

Related article:

In a sweeping crackdown dubbed ‘Operation Nominee Sweep,’ the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) has arrested a total of 104 individuals, comprised of 67 Russian nationals and 37 Thais, for their involvement in a vast network of companies with foreign shareholders.

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Goongnang Suksawat
Goong Nang is a News Translator who has worked professionally for multiple news organizations in Thailand for many years and has worked with The Pattaya News for more than four years. Specializes primarily in local news for Phuket, Pattaya, and also some national news, with emphasis on translation between Thai to English and working as an intermediary between reporters and English-speaking writers. Originally from Nakhon Si Thammarat, but lives in Phuket and Krabi except when commuting between the three.