Brit accused of B217m land swindle

Phuket property

Granville: In the clink.

Phuket holiday units ‘have not been built’

The British chief executive officer of a Phuket-based property developer is facing fraud charges after being accused of operating an elaborate scam involving more than 200 million baht.

Crime Suppression Division police yesterday arrested Steven James Granville, 43, the CEO of Puravarna Resorts Co, and charged him with fraud. He was the subject of an arrest warrant issued by the Criminal Court.

The company runs a property development business in tambon Rawai in Phuket’s Muang district.

The arrest came after Anand Kumar Sen, managing director of Tycoon Group Co, filed a complaint with the CSD last May accusing Mr Granville of deceiving people into paying for residential units which have not been built.

Mr Anand, a Singapore national, represents 19 customers of various nationalities who are the damaged parties. He said the total damage amounted to more than 217 million baht.

Mr Anand said the people he represented had signed agreements to buy suites priced between 6 million and 15 million baht at the company’s luxury resort project.

The company had advertised the project in the media and organised events in countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Britain and Australia to attract customers to buy the units.

The company said the project was releasing more than 70 residential units as part of its second phase.

The company had promised the project, which began in 2005, would be completed on schedule in 2008, Mr Anand said.

He said the buyers had paid installments equal to more than 80 per cent of the price before learning construction had not started on the project.

The company cited flooding, financial difficulties and political problems as the causes of the delay, Mr Anand said.

He said the customers had found the residential project was not permitted by Phuket authorities.

The buyers believe they have been duped by the company and authorised him to file the lawsuit against the company, Mr Anand said.

The victims of the alleged scam include people of different nationalities and executives of Tiger Beer in Singapore, Mr Anand said.

Mr Granville has denied the allegations.

Police said they were gathering evidence to take action against other suspects involved in the alleged scam.

The Criminal Court yesterday set bail of 10 million baht which Mr Granville refused to pay.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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