Reading the local MSM last week on Thailand’s supreme court ruling that former PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s family should be stripped of more than half a contested US$2.3bn fortune* had me wondering if senior Temasek staffers involved in that deal missed their true vocation.
It was his family’s decision to sell its shares in one of Thailand’s biggest telecom groups, Shin Corp, to a Temasek-led consortium that led to his downfall. So one way of looking at things is that the decision by Temasek to lead a consortium to buy Shin was the cause of his troubles.
The early 2006 sale netted his family and friends US$1.9bn, angering many urban, educated Thais: the Thaksins had avoided paying tax and had sold a strategic asset to another country.
There were street demonstrations and he called a snap general election for April 2006. But the main opposition parties boycotted the polls and many voters chose to register a “no vote”.
Faced with the threat of further protests, he stepped down for a few weeks, but returned to office in May. In September that year, the military seized power while the prime minister was out of the country.
I’m sure that the Temasek executives who made the decision to invest in Shin would easily get top jobs in the “black ops” section of the CIA, KGB or MI6. Overthrowing an unfriendly government is hard enough to do (ask the CIA about Castro and Chavez) but overthowing a friendly government can only be done by geniuses.
After all they failed as Buffetts: an ST article kindly reminded readers that Temasek paid 49.25 baht for each Shin share and the present share price is about 28. The offer price was so gd that brokers advised their clients to tender their shares. The Temasek-led consortium ended up with so many shares, that Shin shld have been delisted. For some unknown reason it wasn’t.
And they failed as hedgies. John Paulson was buying BoA, just as Temasek was selling out. In BoA and Barclays with hindsight, Temasek sold around “maximum pessimism” , losing an estimated U$4.6 billion
And Temasek’s Seatown wants to be a hedgie?http://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/temasek-the-significance-of-seatown/
Talking of kids with toys using our money.
So working for the CIA might be best for Singapore, and the world. Obama needs help in Iran, Afganistan and Pakistan against some pesky Muslims.
And thinking abt it, they can also put on their CVs how they made S’poreans angry with their government, and doubting its competency and compassion.
Many S’poreans are angry at the Shin, ML, and Barclays losses, and the growing perception here that the losses are a sign that the S’pore government “does” and tolerates incompetency, within the government and state agencies.
Worse the govmin cannot answer the critics of its welfare policies that it is being prudent. These subversives (from PAP perspective) can answer back,”Prudence, what prudence losing a few billions here and a few billions there?”
*because the court said US$1.4bn of the assets were gained illegally through conflict of interest when Mr Thaksin was prime minister (The funds were frozen after Mr Thaksin’s elected government was overthrown in a military coup in 2006),