Rich royals

22 06 2009

Most PPT readers will have noticed the Forbes (17 June 2009: “The World’s Richest Royals”) report that ranks the world’s top 15 royal families by wealth.

Forbes reports: “No. 1 on our list, for the second year in a row, is Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He is worth $30 billion, $5 billion less than last year, as a result of double-digit declines in real estate and stocks owned via the Crown Property Bureau, the state investment vehicle of which he is a trustee. Rising political tensions have also destabilized the country, dampening even the important tourism sector.”

No doubt the statement that the Crown Property Bureau is a “state investment vehicle of which he [the king] is a trustee” is pandering to the mock outrage last year when the Bureau and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs tried to claim that the Bureau was somehow a state entity and for the people of Thailand rather than the monarchy itself. These flunkies also challenged the methodology, but had no evidence for their claims in this area.

Claiming that the Crown Property Bureau is a state investment vehicle is an absolute falsehood in law and in practice. Not even the Bureau itself has previously made such a claim at their website, but maybe they’ll soon update it to reflect this bit of propaganda.

As debates at Bangkok Pundit and New Mandala show, the Bureau is essentially under the control of the crown. And, as one correspondent to the latter points out, this is legally the case. Also at New Mandala, another correspondent rightly points out that the listing of wealth for the Thai monarchy is undoubtedly understated as the Forbes figure does not include personal wealth and holdings or the extensive holdings of the Chai Pattana Foundation. Neither of these has ever been adequately reported.

Part of the political struggle over the past 5-6 years in Thailand has been about protecting and enhancing the monarchy’s great wealth and the influence that flows from that. Clearly, if one asks who rules Thailand economically and politically, one needs to begin with the palace.


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13 09 2009
ราชวงศ์ที่มั่งคั่ง « Liberal Thai

[…] กันยายน 2009 — chapter 11 Rich royals June 22, 2009 ที่มา – Political Prisoners in Thailand แปลและเรียบเรียง – แชพเตอร์ […]

15 04 2010
Updated: Foreign Correspondent on the monarchy « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Surprisingly, there is no mention of the monarchy’s great wealth. […]

14 09 2010
Land ownership « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] As regular readers know, PPT has frequently commented on the wealth of the royal family. One of the prime sources of the crown’s stupendous wealth is land. PPT has also previously posted on landed […]

27 08 2012
Monarchies in comparison « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] the horse has bolted given the high profile of an academic account (get it here) and the related Forbes story of the CPB. Essentially, the book is a royalist and palace attempt to steer the public account of […]

27 08 2012
Monarchies in comparison « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] the horse has bolted given the high profile of an academic account (get it here) and the related Forbes story of the CPB. Essentially, the book is a royalist and palace attempt to steer the public account of […]




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