A Gavel Falls in Paradise - Part 2 of 4

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Published: 04th December 2016
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Editor's Note: This past summer we featured a long expose' about White Sands Beach and the Royal Siam Trust, a proposed beach-front development project in Trat, Thailand. The article chronicled an extraordinary legal battle that pitted the investment firm of Meyer Japan and it's Managing Director, Richard Cayne; against the Royal Siam Trust Company whose Managing Partner is Gregory J. Pitt. This article follows-up on that story.

Sitting somewhat apart from even his own attorney, Gregory Pitt looked nervous and slightly disheveled. Some of the salesman's self-confidence that used to be his moniker has faded. Pitt's future is the real subject of the day's courtroom drama. In simple terms, he stands accused by Cayne of absconding with millions of dollars in real estate assets that are the property of Cayne's investors. It is a peculiarity of Thai law that an individual like Cayne can bring criminal charges against another individual, like Pitt, and if he prevails in the matter, the defendant can find themselves facing a prison term in the very disagreeable confines of a Thai prison. Pitt has good reason to be nervous.

It had been a long, winding and totally implausible road since 2004, when Cayne and his firm, Meyer Japan, first became aware of what was a seemingly excellent investment opportunity with Pitt and White Sands Beach. Thailand's real estate market was booming and Japanese nationals were looking for real estate investment opportunities abroad. Cayne had developed a well-known reputation for his ability to search-out higher-yielding investment opportunities for his clients when he met Pitt, who was the driving force between the Royal Siam Trust with investments in various financial opportunities including White Sands Beach. Initially the relationship was a typical one between Meyer and the Royal Siam Trust. Nothing noteworthy other than the usual grind of facilitating investment documents and sales of investment interests.

But in 2010 Cayne started to hear stories that things were amiss with White Sands Beach. Cayne received word from multiple, independent source, that Pitt had illegally transferred control of investor's interests from their names to Pitt's control. It was an action akin to changing title on a home without the owner's consent.

Initially, Cayne found such a brazen act to be hard to believe. When he finally learned the true dimensions of the fraud, he tried to convince Pitt to return the investor's equity to their rightful owners. Pitt's response was like something out of a modern-day courtroom drama: He not only wouldn't return the investor's rightful positions, he made it clear that if Cayne didn't back-off, he would accuse Cayne of complicity in the fraud and bring down Meyer Japan. Cayne, so Pitt's thinking went, would never, ever risk that. After all, billions of dollars in losses, not the millions in losses at White Sands Beach, had just been lost in the U.S. banking fiasco and no one had owned-up to anything and certainly no one had gone to jail. Surely, Pitt reasoned, Cayne would do the same: Take his lumps and walk away. He was wrong. And the magnitude of his error had lead him to this hour in a Trat, Thailand courtroom.

To Be Continued.

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