Thailand's Nation Multimedia executives to appeal order to step down

BANGKOK, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Directors and executives at Thailand’s biggest publishing group on Friday said they will appeal an order by the stock regulator requiring them to step down from their positions at the company, following criminal charges against the group’s management.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) late Thursday banned the eight directors and executives at Nation Multimedia Group, the publisher of English-language newspaper The Nation, from their posts and from working at the company.

The regulator’s statement referred to charges by the public prosecutor in an ongoing criminal case against Nation Multimedia’s executives and directors of not allowing certain shareholders to attend the group’s annual shareholders meeting. Nation Multimedia is Thailand’s largest publishing group by market value.

In a joint statement and press conference on Friday, the eight directors and executives denied the charges and said they would appeal the order.

“If we are not treated fairly, we are ready to take the case to the court,” veteran journalist and founder of the Nation Suthichai Yoon said at a press conference in Bangkok.

Among the eight are Suthichai, Executive Chairman Sermsin Samalapa, Chief Executive Officer Duangkamol Chotana.

The SEC said on Friday after Nation’s statement and press conference that it had worked thoroughly in reaching its decision to ban the directors and executives from their posts.

Wrangling over Nation’s shareholder meeting relates to a dispute between the company and rival News Network Corp Pcl , over a hostile takeover bid by the latter in 2014.

Shares in Nation and its two subsidiaries, Nation Broadcasting Corp and Nation International Edutainment Pcl, were suspended from trading by the Thai bourse on Friday, pending clarification about the issue. (Reporting by Khettiya Jittapong; Editing by Sam Holmes)