The Emerald Palace Property scam in Pattaya which was first exposed on this website is coming to a close.
Property buyers from Britain and other countries have been getting possession of their properties.
What’s more the Thai Courts have been ruling that the buyers should either get all their money back or the company which owns the condo block on Pratamnak Hill should pay the outstanding charges and hand over the chanotes.
|Haughton, former Pattaya-Jomtien
Rotary Club President
Readers will remember how British businessman Richard Haughton, a former Tupperware salesman, promoted these apartments first through Harlequin (Thailand) then through the Thailand Property Media and Exhibition Company. Buyers paid in a number of ways, to Harlequin, TPME, in cash, by cheque etc, some in the UK.
But the property title had been switched to a company called Headland Holdings, as was a lot of the cash – then Headland Holdings mortgaged the whole lot to the Kasikorn Bank for 71 million baht.
Tax was not paid on any of this income.
Their lawyers were Limcharoen, a firm on the British Embassy approved lawyer list.
The Pattaya Provincial Civil court has been hearing a lot of evidence which has all the hallmarks of a criminal nature. Thus transcripts are being collected by the Crime Suppression Division who have been investigating both Emerald Palace and another development in Pattaya known as Spanish village.
Both these cases are the top of a property scam mountain in Pattaya and the reason for the CSD delay seems to be down to several foreign individuals, who initially made complaints then returned to their home countries, such as Russia, and have not answered requests for a second interview.
When the Kasikorn Bank took charge of all the deeds everyone in Pattaya was happy. One of the directors of Kasikorn even got an apartment which had been bought by a foreigner. Well everybody who counted was happy. The new arrivals were not of course.
They were the foreign buyers who arrived to take possession to find they had nothing. But they did not have much importance in the scheme of things.
What happened has all the appearance of being predesignated. The buyers were offered a deal. All they would need to do was pay the odd extra US$20,000 or so each and they would get the chanotes. The buyers were required to pay off headland Holdings entire bank loan even though most of them had paid for their purchases completely already. The deals were brokered by the lawyers.
The 71 million loan had of gone up in smoke of course and the bank is now seeking to force Headland Holdings into bankruptcy.
Britons Haughton, Paul Salisbury and Nicholas Davies were replaced as directors, by directors of Limcharoen, but the British individuals remain open to enforcement and property seizures.
So called investigations by the Pattaya City Consumers Affairs Department, and the DSI, (the last one lasted all of five minutes) revealed only that as a foreigner buying property in Thailand the obvious people are not going to help you….There are not surprisingly cynical comments about the CSD investigation but assurances have been given this is still under way.
|Pearce – returned to UK
But seeing no end to the problem many buyers, scared of losing their homes, were pressured to pay up the extra charges in the Limcharoen scheme.
Some had been frightened by people telling them they would lose all and the bank would auction off their properties.
I can understand their fear. But now the courts are coming down on the side of the owners who dug in their heels. It’s not their debt it’s the debt of Harlequin, TPME, Headland and the cronies of these companies.
Meanwhile Haughton, Salisbury etc. will be screaming poverty. I cannot say they will pay up. But I can say they have a ride ahead.
Just a reminder. If you buy off plan in Thailand you are entering a high risk area. If you buy a house in Thailand in a company name you are still in a high risk area if that company does not do anything. If you buy from a foreigner, especially beware. Make sure the property is owned by the company you pay into. Get proof of all money you bring into Thailand. If you put down a deposit abroad, this is very high risk. Then again if you send money to Thailand on the promise of one or two foreigners telling you how well your property is progressing – that’s high risk too.