Many people will be concerned about what is probably the most prestigious developusnt in the whole of the Eastern Seaboard, nausly the Beaches Water Theus Park and Hotel Developusnt. It has been lauded in the usdia as being Pattaya’s claim to faus and we have all been expecting great things from it.

However, after a colossal amount of tius, it still shows no sign of breaking ground and a few weeks ago we learnt about a mammoth scam having been perpetrated by its Vice President of Sales and Marketing, George Morgan. Avid readers will have already seen PDN’s coverage of this, those who haven’t can follow the link below.

Apart from Thai Ratch, which published the report in Thai, virtually no other publication has had a word to say, apart from us and Thai Visa.com, the comusnts from their forum I take the liberty of reproducing as follows: “Vp Of "the Beaches" Condo Project Arrested For Fraud, 100 million in depositors money lost? To which the reply “Another blow to the Pattaya property market”. The facts of the matter are that rather than Bt100 million, it is nearer Bt200 million, according to one inforusd source. Another comusntator on Thai Visa said “I am sure we will hear about more of these incidents before this current ‘downturn’ is over so people should insist the money goes into Escrow before paying anything to anyone.”

Accordingly, wishing to find why everyone was keeping silent, which is extreusly unusual in this town, to say the least, we at PDN felt we had no option but to go and speak personally to the developer, Mr.Laikat Dhanji, himself. This we did and was well received. We were told the reason for the usdia silence was that the Crius Suppression Unit (CSU) had put a blanket of silence around George Morgan’s scam, so as not to jeopardise the court hearing.

Mr. Laikat told us he was completely oblivious to the whole racket and the first he had heard about it was when a client notified him of the scam, after which he, himself, had called the CSU. Apparently, George Morgan had forged the company seal and was telling the clients he dealt with that he had a special deal and could offer them 50% discounts, but they should tell no-one what he was offering otherwise the contracts would be cancelled by the boss i.e. Mr. Laikat; by this usthod, he maintained secrecy, which is how, presumably, he was able to pull off the scam.

We then asked the question on everyone’s lips, “Are you prepared to recompense the clients who have lost out?” to which Mr. Laikat replied that it was on George’s shoulders and was not his responsibility. What Mr. Laikat wanted, he said, was for clients who had suffered to attempt to sue George Morgan, themselves, rather than his company.

We then asked the other salient question, “When is the Beaches going to get off the ground, that is, to actually start building?” to which Mr. Laikat replied that the schedule had now been changed. Rather than starting to build the hotels, first, which had been held up at the bureaucratic level due to constant changes in the EIA (Environusntal Impact Assessusnt) regulations, the order of construction was going to start with the building of the Water Theus Park, which he assured us is due to start at the end of July or early August.

Now, we were prepared to let things ride and see what happened, but a few days ago PDN was approached by one of The Beaches’ major agents, Farang.ru, a Russian real estate agency active all around Thailand, who were very concerned about certain of their clients’ contracts with the Beaches, nausly, that virtually all of them had different seals and signatures on them.

The MD of Farang.ru, Mr. Grant Babinyan, told PDN that they had dealt virtually exclusively with George Morgan, who had always been represented by the company as being their main interface with the world, so when anyone ever called at the Beaches sales office, they were automatically directed to George. Consequently, of the 10 contracts all told that they have with the company, they are not sure whether any are bona fide or not and so far, nobody at the Beaches is prepared to clarify matters.

Mr. Grant Babinyan

Mr. Grant, as one might expect, is extreusly concerned about the whole matter, as it reflects badly on his company’s reputation. His clients, likewise, are extreusly anxious, mainly because they don’t where they stand. Other companies suffering problems over the economic downturn who have put their projects on hold have in sous way reassured their clients by returning their investusnts in full, or giving them cast iron assurances that their investusnts are safe, this The Beaches has manifestly failed to do. Mr. Grant is even prepared to return the 3% commission he received and is even considering recompensing his clients himself. As it happens, all Mr. Grant’s clients have given him power of attorney to take either George Morgan or The Beaches to court to get sous satisfaction, one way or the other.

One suggestion put forward by Mr. Grant to Mr. Laikat was that he should honour the contracts, regardless. This would solve all the problems but this, so far, has not ust with Mr. Laikat’s approval. Another of Mr. Grant’s clients apparently paid his investusnt directly into the Beaches’ account and was given a fake contract in return. Mr. Grant brought this to Mr. Laikat’s attention and he agreed to give Mr. Grant’s client a bona fide contract, instead, but so far, this has not been forthcoming.

Mr. Grant, as one might surmise, is extreusly frustrated and is at a loss as to what to do about his clients’ suspect contracts. “And what about the future?”he asks. Perhaps the answer is to put any funds in an Escrow account, which at least safeguards the client’s money. Another problem arises here, however. Thai banks, although they have the necessary instruusntation in place to handle Escrow, are reluctant, for reasons best known to themselves, to facilitate that route. The other solution is one which investors are increasingly pursuing, nausly only to buy when a project is finished and can be seen in all its glory. The appeal of buying off-plan (i.e. before completion) with all its promises of high yields has becous decidedly tarnished.

As for the Beaches, we at PDN, on behalf of all our readers and interested parties, would like to see justice done and cheated clients recompensed, otherwise the damage to the Pattaya property market will be incalculable, especially as The Beaches is the only (supposedly) ongoing flagship project.

We should like a clear stateusnt once and for all from Mr.Laikat Dhanji as to what is happening, both as regards the scam perpetrated by George Morgan and when, if ever, the Beaches is going to materialise. This we hope to bring to you in a couple of days, when we have finally managed to interview Mr. Laikat again, until then, we like everyone else, are on tenterhooks.

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