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 4 of 14)

Military analysts say he was instrumental in the junta’s purchase of advanced MiG-29 fighter-bombers and helicopters from Russia.

 

Despite the presence of Russian arms dealers in Rangoonconfirmed by western diplomatsHtoo denies involvement in arms trading, although admitting that it does sell helicopters to the regime.

 

Tay Za’s close connection to the regime is undoubtedly one of the keys to his success. Ties to the top are vitally important when doing business in Burma, and Tay Za has no shortage of friends in high places. He is known to be close to Burma’s paramount leader, Snr-Gen Than Shwe, and the general’s family. Rumors that he is involved with one of the general’s daughters are strongly denied by the company and the young woman’s family, however.

 

Yet courting the children of powerful generals in order to take them on board his company appears to be one of Tay Za’s business strategies. An important coup was to seal a friendship with Aung Thet Mann, son of the junta’s number three, Gen Thura Shwe Mann, who is tipped to take over the leadership when Than Shwe goes.

 

Aung Thet Mann’s company, Ayer Shwe Wah, is now part of Htoo, and the general’s son is reaping big cash rewards from the arrangement. When the regime relaxed its ban on rice exports, Aung Thet Mann’s company was awarded the first rice export licence, providing for the delivery of 11,000 tons to Bangladesh and Singapore. A further lucrative deal handed Ayer Shwe Wah a contract to supply fertilizers to farmers in the delta regions.

 

Business rivals accuse Aung Thet Mann of winning contracts for construction works in the project to move the War Office to Pyinmana because of his access to government supplies of cheap cement, enabling him to submit the lowest tenders.

 

It’s not all plain sailing for the two pals, howeverdiplomatic sources say that their plans to visit tourist resorts in Australia were dashed when their visa applications were rejected.



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