Dad: Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra
Bad behavior: When Pinthongta Shinawatra became the richest stockholder in Thailand in 2004, few observers were surprised. Before Thaksin was deposed in a military coup in 2006, his family benefited tremendously from the rampant nepotism during his five-year term as prime minster, with his own children netting millions. Along with her brother Pangthongtae, she made a large profit by buying 329.2 million shares in a Thai communications company for 1 baht each from one of the family’s offshore holding company, and selling them for almost 50 times their value to a Singaporean company. The ensuing transaction netted $464 million, and Pinthongta’s father kept the transaction hidden from Thai tax officials.
Since her father lost the premiership, Pinthongta has been busy protecting both her father’s record and her own funds. A court in Thailand ordered her and her brother in 2007 to pay $293.6 million in taxes for the stock transaction, and just this February a court upheld the Thai state’s decision to freeze more than $350 million of the pair’s assets. Meanwhile, she refused to testify against her parents in their own tax-evasion case, and she continues to defend her father’s record in public, all while running the family’s still-intact property business. And with substantial portions of her fortune, as well as the rest of the family’s, likely hidden in overseas accounts, Thai authorities will have a hard time halting her life of luxury.