Thailand’s Wind Energy Holding’s chairman wins share ownership lawsuit

Construction News
Nop Narongdej

Thailand’s Wind Energy Holding’s chairman wins share ownership lawsuit

Nop Narongdej, the embattled energy business entrepreneur, has won another protracted legal battle against lese majeste fugitive Nopporn “Nick” Suppipat over the share ownership of Wind Energy Holding Ltd (WEH) in Thailand.

Mr Nopporn filed a series of lawsuits against Mr Nop, former WEH chairman, in numerous countries, including Hong Kong and Singapore, over a share ownership dispute in the company, one of Southeast Asia’s leading renewable energy companies. It operates wind power plants in several areas in Thailand.

WEH has been embroiled in scandal since its original founder, Mr Nopporn, fled the country over a lese majeste case.

The latest court battle was in Singapore in which the Singapore Appeals court ruled in favour of Mr Nop while overruling an earlier decision of an international arbitration tribunal.

In 2015, after facing a lese majeste charge and fleeing abroad, Mr Nopporn sold his shares in WEH to Mr Nop at US$190 million (6.90 billion baht).

Nopporn Suppipat

Mr Nopporn accused Mr Nop of failing to pay the full amount. Mr Nop insisted he had paid the $190 million but he could not pay a bonus of another $525 million demanded by Mr Nopporn as he found the machinery of the company was not functional and some land use agreements were invalid.

The arbitral tribunal late last year ruled the share sale transaction was complete but ordered Fullerton Bay Investment Limited and KPN Energy Holding, owned by Mr Nop, to pay the bonus and arbitration costs.

But the Singapore Appeals Court dismissed the bonus and arbitration cost payment orders altogether, finding the arbitration tribunal made its earlier order in excess of jurisdiction, said Pokpak Thongbhakdee, Mr Nop’s legal adviser.

“The judgment was also like another nail into the coffin for Mr Nop’s adversary and he is prepared for whatever cases Mr Nopporn could still bring to the arbitration court, if his financial resources are not exhausted,” the lawyer said.

Mr Nop thanked the Singapore Appeals Court for the judgment.

After fleeing a lese majeste charge in Thailand, Mr Nopporn reportedly lived in Paris and became a lead investor in Blade, a Paris-based cloud computing firm which later expanded to a cloud game streaming business.

But the business downturn forced Blade to file for bankruptcy, according to media reports.