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Dr Boon, THG group must clarify Pfizer deal controversy

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Dr Boon is ordered to clarify details about his Pfizer deal and stock scandal. (thg.co.th)

Trouble is deepening for Dr Boon Vanasin, the President of Thonburi Healthcare Group, who has been accused of a large stock purchase before lying about his company procuring Pfizer vaccines that caused the stock to soar. The Chairman of the Crime Victims’ Assistance Club has filed a complaint with the CyberCrime Investigation Bureau against Boon for sharing that fake news of a Pfizer deal.

The chairman believes there was never any negotiations as Pfizer was only authorised to work with one of 5 government agencies, none of which reported any dealings with THG. He believes the announcement and the low price stated of 1,300 baht per dose was fake news crafted solely to drive up stock prices.

The Securities and Exchange Commission ordered clarification within 7 days about certain details regarding the Pfizer deal. They want information from Boon on why the alleged Pfizer deal failed to materialize. Investors are being warned by financial experts that the THG stock is a risky investment with the volatility of prices dues to scandals surrounding the Pfizer deal and the possibilities of formal investigations by regulators.

The warnings cause a drop of over 8% in the stock, with 200 million baht trading hands. The SEC and the Stock Exchange of Thailand are warning investors of the unpredictability of THG stocks because of this web of confusing and contradictory information, with the SEC issuing 2 letters to Boon requesting clarification.

Boon’s drama started brewing in mid-July after, apparently frustrated by the slow process of importing vaccines for private hospitals, he spoke out accusing the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation of profiting off the import process. The GPO, who are required to act as a middleman as Thai law allows only government organisations to import vaccines, took umbrage to the allegations and sued Boon.

At the same time, Boon had announced that Thonburi Healthcare Group had struck a deal to import 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, a declaration that caused stock prices in his company to soar. The same day as news broke of the GPO lawsuit, BioNTech put out a statement saying that they were not in any negotiations with THG and the reports were false.

Three days later, news broke that Boon’s wife had purchased 950,000 shares of THG stock in the 10 or so days leading up to the false announcement about the Pfizer deal, purchases that would equate to about 3.5 million baht of profit. The SET opened an investigation into the scandal.

Then on August 3, Boon seemingly doubled down on his Pfizer procurement claims when he announced once again that THG is negotiating a deal to import 20 million Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, working together with the Ministry of Defence to seal the deal within the week. But a Ministry spokesperson once again refuted the statement, saying they had no agreements with any private agencies.

Boon claims losses of between 500 and 600 million baht due to breach of contract, but there is still no evidence of a contract.

SOURCE: The Phuket News and The Pattaya News

 

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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