Puravarna CEO in Phuket Prison Awaiting Trial
By Chutima Sidasathian
ALLEGED Phuket property swindler Steven James Granville has been transferred from Bangkok to Phuket Prison to await trial over the failed Puravarna brand.
Mr Granville, 44, the executive officer of a Phuket-based property development firm, Puravarna Resorts Co, denies accusations of fraud involving more than 200 million baht.
On March 31 last year, police from the Bangkok-based Crime Suppression Division arrested Mr Granville on Phuket and escorted him back to Bangkok for questioning.
At the time of the arrest, the Criminal Court set bail of 10 million baht, which Mr Granville declined to pay.
A Singapore-based businessman filed a complaint to police on behalf of 19 people who claim to have invested more than 217 million baht in the project, which was to be built across a large property in Rawai. Agreements had been signed to buy villas priced between 6 million and 15 million baht. Advertisements for the Puravana Phuket development appeared in Singapore, Hong Kong, Britain and Australia.
Anand Kumar Sen, managing director of Tycoon Group Co, said the buyers had paid installments equal to more than 80 percent of the price before learning construction had not started.
Puravarna was closely tied on its online site to The Phuket Yacht Club Resort at Nai Harn. Bill Barnett’s thephuketinsider.com also reported: ”According to local sources one of the group’s major investors is a high profile Spanish football club who have reportedly been trying to recoup their investment in recent times.”
The site added that the charges against Mr Granville ”unravel a rather bizarre circumstance which saw the group launch a Rawai-based luxury estate development which offered 10 percent annual guaranteed returns and, over the past few years, continued to offer a number of varying promotional strategies to generate real estate sales.”
The Puravarna investigation is now in the hands of the Department of Special Investigation. More than 1000 inmates occupy Phuket Prison, several hundred occupants over its intended capacity.