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The grandson of late Burmese dictator Ne Win revealed on Tuesday that he plans to purchase the majority of shares of Asian Green Development Bank (AGD Bank), which is owned by Tay Za, a well-known tycoon with links to Burma’s former military junta.
Kyaw Ne Win, the oldest grandson of the former president, told DVB that he has bought up 60 percent of the AGD Bank’s shares, and plans to purchase more – up to 85 percent.
His purchase of AGD Bank shares comes as the bank is looking to list on the Rangoon Stock Exchange, which is expected to be launched in late 2015.
Earlier this year, the bank signed an advisory agreement with Japan-based Daiwa Security Group – part of a joint venture with state-owned Myanmar Economic Bank to create the Myanmar Securities Exchange Centre.
Both AGD Bank and its owner, Tay Za, remain on the US list of Specially Designated Nationals, which subjects both the company and Tay Za to US economic sanctions should the Burmese government be deemed to be backsliding on its reforms.
AGD executive director Thet Linn Swe declined to confirm the exact amount of shares that Kyaw Ne Win currently holds, though he said that the amount is substantial.
“From what I know, some shareholders of the bank are selling their shares and the buyer [Kyaw Ne Win] is looking to buy as many as are available,” Thet Linn Swe said. “It is not clear how high a percentage of the shares he will buy, but based on what he said, we assume it will be a considerably large percentage.”
He added that the AGD Bank has not yet opened the sale of its shares to the public, but has limited options to its staff and original shareholders.
Details of Kyaw Ne Win’s move were made murky by a seemingly contradictory report in a Burmese national daily that cited AGD Bank’s deputy-executive director Wai Linn Oo saying that the bank had sold only 15 percent of its shares to Kyaw Ne Win and three other businessmen, including the owner of the Mikko Food Marketing Company.
However, Kyaw Ne Win maintained that this mistake was due to the fact that AGD’s staff “cannot know everything [that is happening] at their different working levels”.
Gen. Ne Win was in power for more than 20 years until 1988, and was believed to exercise influence over subsequent military regimes. Kyaw Ne Win, along with his two brothers Zwe Ne Win and Aye Ne Win, and their father, were jailed and sentenced to death for masterminding a plot to overthrow a junta led by Snr-Gen Than Shwe.
They were released under an amnesty announced by the nominally civilian government of President Thein Sein in November 2013.