If you’ve got it flaunt it and that certainly seems to be true in the case of Norwegian ‘property developer’ Kurt Svendheim whose house, or rather interconnected houses, were raided in Pattaya ten days ago.
City officials and Thai Customs claimed they were raiding the houses after complaints of noisy parties, but I’m not falling for that one.
Inside they found scores of foreigner males partying with Thai women, and seemed to be impressed with the wealth of the owner, who for some odd reason did not seem to get a mention in the local press in which he advertises frequently.
They also found a massive stocks of wine and champagne and every drink under the sun, plus a Porsche, Ferrari and Rolls Royce.
Svendheim, 47, from Haugesund, another pillar of Pattaya’s high society is the boss of New Nordic Property in Pattaya with several projects on the way so to speak. I am somewhat surprised that he is not a local Rotary Club President.
He is much better known in Norway where together with a colleague Geir Underbakke he sold properties in Brazil and Bulgaria to Norwegians and almost took down the Hjemeland Sparekassen.
A lot of these properties did not materialise but not only had he taken millions from investors but also some 70 million Norwegian kroner from the bank – about US$8.3 million.
A bank employee Stale Hasle faced the music for that and the Norwegian authorities expressed an interest in getting Svendheim him home to testify as they were unsatisfied with his answers over the phone, but that all seems to have died – or has it?
|Pic: Stale Halsne|
Stale Halsne was sentenced in Stavanger District Court for misappropriating bank funds. A book was published and the blurb for it says:
The book Betrayal in Hjelmeland is a harrowing account of how a bank’s management did everything possible to get press, police and public to believe that they knew nothing about what Ståle Halsne did when he collaborated with Geir Underbakke and Kurt Svendheim and that he intentionally ruined the bank.
Svendheim claimed that the reason his projects went belly up was ‘the recession’ and I have lost count of how many timest hat one has been used.
Thailand is currently undergoing difficult financial times but there was no indication of that at Svendheims’s home.
While the Pattaya rags have kept shtum Svendheim did speak to a Thai-Norwegian website to re-assure investors in his properties in Thailand. He is not losing any sleep apparently.
Two of his companies ‘Dream Apartments’ and ‘Holiday Dreams’ have been made bankrupt (Mind you he appears to have 14 assorted companies in this mish mash).
But he says: ‘Thailand Dreams’ and ‘Thailand Dreams III are ‘standing on safe ground’. I guess there is a Thailand II in there somewhere.
Investors who lost all in his projects may be a little irritated by his show of wealth.
Meanwhile, according to press reports, the person who took the fall was a woman called Pornchanok Kamphapan. According to Khao Sod:
“She told security officers in the raid that her husband, a foreigner who works at a hotel in Pattaya, actually owns the place and likes to invite his friends to parties at the mansion.”
Her husband she said was not present which seems a bit silly as he was throwing the party.
However Customs officers took her into custody (very temporarily I am sure) and estimated that they were owed 1.2 million baht in unpaid taxes – and took the Aston Martin and a good range of booze.
There of course seems to be some mistake here. If what was on show was not taxed then there is something wrong with the tax department’s figures.
Expect a Thai solution to this one and of course his current projects will be doing fine….until they are not.
|Pic: Customs line-up and show part of their haul|