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Family of British CEO in Phuket insist he was murdered

PHUKET: The family of a British CEO of an B800-million high-end housing development in Phuket have filed a formal complaint over the police conclusion that his death was an accident. The family insist that the death of the CEO, Steven James Granville, was murder.

By The Phuket News

Saturday 12 January 2019, 01:23PM

Attorney Vincent McOwen holds up a photo of Steven James Granville at the Technology Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok yesterday (Jan 11). Photo: Khaosod English

Attorney Vincent McOwen holds up a photo of Steven James Granville at the Technology Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok yesterday (Jan 11). Photo: Khaosod English

The complaint was filed by the family’s lawyer, Vincent McOwen, at the Technology Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok, reports Khaosod English. (See story here.)

Of note, the TCSD is overseen by the high-profile Immigration Bureau Chief Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, who previously severed as a deputy commander of the national Tourist Police.

Mr McOwen said the family was coming forward now that Mr Granville has died after being brain dead for four years in a UK hospital.

“We are here today to ask for a full and fair investigation,” Mr McOwen said. “It is an ongoing case but we are hearing nothing back. We are getting no feedback.”

Mr Granville was the former CEO of the failed Puravarna project in Rawai, which at the time included in its portfolio Phuket’s first luxury hotel, the Royal Phuket Yacht Club at Nai Harn Beach.

Mr Granville was arrested in April 2010 on charges of deceiving buyers into paying for homes at the project that were never built. Nineteen buyers claimed they had paid a total of B217 million – an average of B11.4 million each – but that Phase 1 of the project had stalled and Phase 2 had never begun.

Mr Granville denied the deception charges and the judge in return denied him bail for the period leading up to his trial. (See Phuket News report here.)

He was acquitted and released after 18 months in custody awaiting trial for deception and his accuser, Anand Kumar Sen, at last report was on bail awaiting his appeal against a conviction for making false accusations. (See Phuket News story here.)

However, in 2013, the renowned hotel was offered for sale for B1.3 billion by Puravarna Holdings, a partnership between Mr Granville’s company British India PLC and Spanish company Boscasolidos, which had links to Spanish football club Atletico Madrid.

The hotel – which continued to operate smoothly – was sold to the low-key Corbis Group, a private equity, corporate investment and development group headquartered in Spain, for an undisclosed price.

Corbis sold the hotel to an overseas investor in December 2013. The transaction occurred in the private market and details were not made public. (See story here.)

Mr Granville was later involved in a horrific bike accident and was flown home for permanent care in Britain.

With a fourth of his brain heavily damaged, he was unable to function and spent four years in hospital bed rest before dying at 52 last year.

“He was transferred back to England, where was he was brain dead. This was not an accident. He suffered for four and a half years,” the family’s lawyer Mr McOwen said yesterday.

Mr McOwen, 50, said Mr Granville’s family suspected foul play despite the conclusion of Karon Police and has lost B15mn in a losing legal battle to get back their property shares back.

The lawyer asked police to investigate two former partners of Mr Granville who were involved in another project in 2012, reported Khaosod.

He alleged the pair asked Mr Granville to transfer 99% of Puravarna Resort’s shares – worth over B1bn – reasoning that his criminal record could affect the project. According to Mr McOwen, the siblings promised to return the shares within six months if a deal wasn’t forthcoming,

Less than three months after the shares were allegedly transferred, on June 24, 2013, Granville was seriously injured. McOwen said the only injury found was blunt force trauma to Granville’s head, with no wounds elsewhere on his body. Police ruled it an accident.



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