Credit Suisse Banker Wins Court Case Over Phuket Island Home

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Villa in Andara Resort, Phuket

Credit Suisse Banker Wins Court Case Over Phuket Island Home

After years in the courts, a resolution has been reached with regards to a court case between an Australian billionaire and longstanding Credit Suisse board member Kai Nargolwala over a luxury hideaway in Thailand.

It was a romantic moment in April 2017 on the Thai tourist island of Phuket: in villa No. 29 of luxury resort Andara, Solomon Lew asked for the hand of his partner Roza. The Australian billionaire was so taken by the 10-room villa with spectacular views that he was determined to buy it.

He placed an offer with Daniel Meury: $5 million. In a text message to the Swiss hotel director, Lew said he expects a positive response in seven days. In the meantime, he would send chocolates to Meury’s family in Switzerland. «You know what I mean,» added Lew.

The «chocolate» was actually $100,000, which Lew intended to transfer to Meury. More like a gift, because Lew wanted the transaction to be understood as a commission. For him, an agreement was made.

But Meury wasn’t the seller of the villa in which Kim Kardashian and her entourage had stayed in before Lew. The sellers were Kai Nargolwala, long-time member of the board of directors of Credit Suisse (CS), and his wife.

The offer of $5 million was too small for them. The villa would be sold to Hong Kong-based Swiss Christian Larpin, who had once headed the Elite model agency, for $2.7 million more.

Lew, known for a no-frills and toughness in negotiations, did not hesitate. The billionaire wrote to Nargolwala: «For me it is now a matter of principle, and I will make sure that our agreement is reached, no matter the cost.»

Lew kept his word: He filed a lawsuit in 2017, and has not let up since then. A year ago a Singapore court ruled that the payment to Meury was not linked to a binding agreement. But Lew appealed.

Villa Closed Off

The Supreme Court in Singapore reached its verdict earlier this month, Australian newspaper «The Age» reported. Lew cannot rely on a breach of contract because there was no contract at all, the court said. Hotel manager Meury had not been commissioned by the Nargolwalas with the sale, although Lew had been led to believe so.

But the case isn’t over yet. Larpin, the owner of the villa, is now likely to demand compensation from Lew, as the billionaire had succeeded in having «his» love nest sealed during the legal battle.

Lew himself has long since bought an even larger villa on Phuket: One with a private beach in the even more luxurious Amanpuri Resort.