Tycoon Turf
covering burma and southeast asia
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
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COVER STORY

Tycoon Turf


By Aung Zaw SEPTEMBER, 2005 - VOLUME 13 NO.9


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(Page 13 of 14)

Under Ne Win’s socialist regime, Eike Htun sold tea in the Chinatown section of Rangoon, where he made his home. Some say he also drove a truck to help make ends meet.

 

He subsequently rose to prominence, though not without hardships and despite persistent rumors of illicit connections with shadowy Taiwanese business figures and the international drug trade.

 

Eike Htun’s Olympic Construction Co invests heavily in residential property and hotel development in Rangoon. As a banker, his road to wealth was much bumpier. The banking crisis of 2003 hit Asia Wealth Bank hard. Sources in Rangoon now suggest that it faces insolvency as well as a potential takeover by fellow tycoon Tay Za’s Htoo Trading Company.

 

Established in 1994, Asia Wealth is the largest bank in Burma. After 2003, the bank came under scrutiny by the US Treasury Department, which imposed special sanctions on it and Burma’s Mayflower Bank for alleged involvement in money laundering. Some Burma watchers have suggested that Asia Wealth receives considerable support from Burma’s sizable and affluent ethnic Chinese community.

 

A trip to Chiang Mai for a banking conference in 2000 garnered further unwanted attention for Eike Htun, as Bangkok-based newspapers rekindled allegations of his involvement in the drug trade. Sources in Rangoon told The Irrawaddy that Eike Htun and Win Maung—chairman of Asia Wealth Bank—are the puppets of powerful Chinese businessmen outside Burma, and that both men are in reality not the “big fish” they appear to be.

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Chit KhaingChit Khaing

 

Chit Khaing, founder and managing director of Eden Group Co, began his steady climb to the top of Burma’s business community with the opening of the trendy Eden restaurant in a posh Rangoon suburb in the early 1980s.



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