A LIFE ON THE OCEAN RIPPLE?
Three years after being raided by the Department of Special Investigations in the Thai resort city of Pattaya Italian con man Raoul Bianchetti appears to have become a self-made multi-millionaire.
Nevertheless a group of victims are holding out hope that the man who they claim builds floating death traps,which on most occasions he fails to complete, will be brought to justice.
His specialty was to build yachts, catamarans and cruisers, for the well to do, semi-well to do, and also for less well-off people who planned to sell their homes and retire on the boat of their dreams and perhaps sail the world.
His spiel was good, very very good and its alleged he has taken nearly US$13 million in deposits people paid for the cheaper labour rates Thailand had to offer.
But his boats? Forget about sailing them around the world. It seems few could even stay afloat for long on Mapprachan Lake near the resort let alone enter the stormier waters of Pattaya Bay.
At the time of the raid by DSI officials the Pattaya Daily News reported:
“Pol. Lt. Col. Kritchanat Jankheaw, the head of operation, revealed that the DSI had received complaints from more than 10 foreigners about Mr. Raoul’s company, RB Power and Shelling Co., Ltd., which advertised itself as a custom-yacht builder.
The customers complained that the yachts they ordered and prepaid for were substandard, and their new yachts did not match the description and prices stated in the company’s website advertisement. The customers reported that the company did not use the materials according to the specs listed in the sales contract to build the boat, and when they complained, company officials gave evasive answers.
Furthermore, the company said that customers had to pay additional money if they wanted improvements made to the yacht to meet the specifications they demanded. A total of 10 victimized customers submitted their complaints to DSI, and total damages by the victims were estimated at 100 million THB.
Pol. Lt. Col. Kritchanat also revealed that DSI will inspect the track record of the company’s financial accounts, because a DSI investigation revealed that the company had avoided paying taxes. The company also used a complicit Thai nominee to register to establish the company’s ownership.
Altogether, the DSI raided 6 locations from which the company conducted business activities. The DSI has not yet arrested or formally charged Mr. Raoul, as officials are still inspecting the evidence documents and investigating more witnesses in the next step toward prosecuting the suspect according to the law.”
The DSI said they were in receipt of complaints by 45 foreigners – now that number has risen considerably – and the cash which he has gotten away with has now topped US$13million including more than US2 million from a member of the Dubai Royal family.
(This report is no longer on site – see below)
Incidentally in a release put out by the DSI, the agency stated:
“The evidence obtained is currently being compiled in the ongoing investigation against Mr. Raoul Bianchetti who started two companies but apparently with individuals holding shares of Thai as “candidates” which is unlawful under Foreign Companies Act1999. The revenue from the customers was not deposited in the accounts of the company, thus bypassing the Thai revenue Department and in violation of the Law of the Custom of 1926. These companies operating in the Pattaya City area for about 15 years.”
Well what was the next step? Many people believe a cover-up was then organized by Thai officials. Victims were told that Raoul was deported and blacklisted. But I can find no criminal action taken by the DSI or indeed the local police.
Could that have happened without trial? Well yes the Immigration Police have wide powers. But if that was the case how was he then able to come back and resume business as if nothing had happened.
The latter of course came as no surprise because local police will not investigate frauds committed by foreigners on foreigners, only frauds committed by Thais and foreigners on Thais.
What’s more all stories about his arrest disappeared from the local English language media, the Pattaya Mail, Pattaya Daily News, PattayaOne etc.
The reason for this can be quite simple. Bianchetti had negotiated his innocence and with no criminal charges he could quite legitimately have forced the media to remove the stories.
But then of course local English language papers will take a bung tp have something removed.
Bianchetti has not quite topped the Thai Police record in the Saudi gems scandal when police even resorted to murder to get hold of the gems stolen by a Thai worker from the Royal Palace in Riyadh.
But he’s certainly well on his way – and also adding to Thailand’s reputation as one of the world’s fraud capitals.
Well it will be if police continue to refuse to prosecute fraud on foreigners, and are open to being paid off by the fraudsters, and where civil cases can drag on for years, and when the courts give their judgments those judgments can be difficult to actually enforce.
Thailand has surpassed itself in passing laws to aid and abet white collar crime.
Below is an account sent in by a represented of the victims. The writer also sent in a list of all the victims, how much they had lost.
Their report states that Raoul is now being charged with a number of offences. But will he really be brought to justice? Will the victims have their day? The amount of money he has taken would have lesser talented third rate con men exposed on this site such as Drew Noyes and Brian Goudie positively drooling with envy. With the amount of cash floating around I will not be opening a book on it.
WHAT THE VICTIMS SAY
Mr. Raoul Bianchetti, aided by his Thai’ girlfriend ‘Pui’ (Kanchanok Chummongkon), who is also the “Managing Director” of his RB Power & Sailing Co., Ltd. has been scamming and defrauding virtually every single one of his Boat-Building clients for more than 20 years.
Based in the resort-city of Pattaya, Mr. Raoul has been getting away with his criminal behavior thanks to his ‘good connections’ within the Police, Prosecutor’s Office and even the Thai Court-System, which enabled him to seriously intimidate & threaten his clients.
His Modus Operandi was simple & effective: Clients would find Raoul’s boat-building business on the internet; graphics of beautiful yachts are displayed there, with prices about half of what would be considered ‘normal’ on the planet [ref: http://www.powerandsailing.com].
The reasons, Mr. Raoul explained to his prospective clients was the very low labor costs’ in Thailand, in combination with his ability to purchase materials in bulk and hence at huge discounts, both of which are totally bogus claims, but it sounds convincing.
Oh; and that’s the other thing which makes this guy such a danger to society; he is a MASTER Con-Man; when you first meet him, you will be quickly convinced that you’ve just made a brand-new Life-Long friend. His demeanor is relaxed, gives the convincing strong impression of being highly-expert in the boat-building industry, very flexible & extremely sympathetic.
Clients then transfer a sizeable deposit and the works actually commence; however, after getting about half-way through the boat-construction process, Mr. Bianchetti suddenly turns into a totally in-flexible & unreasonable contractor and picks some random issues, which the Client has, and blows them out of all proportions.
This is his typical M.O. and he will then follow-through with a “stop work” on the Client’s boat – which then leaves the Client with 2 options, either walk-away from the entire mess (don’t forget that the threats & intimidation start right here,- or hire a Lawyer and take Raoul to Court. Of course, that is “Civil Court”, which Mr. Raoul is not at all scared of, ergo, he is very skilled at procrastinating these court procedures ad nauseum ! –
In fact, we have been shown evidence of such cases which have been ‘going-on’ for 10 to 12 years . . . . . . . . Meanwhile, Mr. Bianchetti then finds another Client (who has NO idea about the history of a yacht-under-construction !) who keenly embarks on the project, pays his money, makes some progress payments, only to en-up in the same legal whirl-wind as all of his predecessors ! In all, we have evidence of more than 45 victims, with a combined loss of approx. Tbt. 450 million.
Even though Mr. Bianchetti claims to be an “Expert-Boat-Builder”, none of his completed projects has been passed by legitimate & certified Marine Surveyors. We have on hand, a number of full Marine Surveys which all have 1 thing in common – and that’s the text under the heading “Conclusion”, which clearly states that “The vessel surveyed does NOT comply with any standards and can NOT be insured for its intended purposes”.
Mr. Bianchetti routinely used ‘second-hand Construction Plywood, with traces of cement still clearly in evidence’ as the basis for his hull constructions. We even have, in our possession, a “through-Hull” cut-out example which supports this horrific fact ! Also; the resins used by this con-man are NOT the type of resin for ‘new-build’ yachts, but the very much cheaper resin designed to repair small cracks in existing gel-coat finishes.
The threats/intimidation to his Clients, used by Mr. Raoul include statements like “Your next trip to Thailand won’t be a very pleasant one, since you might get arrested upon arrival at the airport . . . .” and “I have many friends in very high places in Thailand and I can have you arrested quicker than you can order a cappuccino”.
or “During your next visit to Thailand, you may expect some large visitors to your hotel-room” – and last but not least: “If I read one more word in your blog containing defamations and an attempt of extortion , I will report you to the Police and your next trip to Thailand will be an unforgettable one”
We have been able to obtain a list of Mr. Raoul’s victims, complete with full names & contact information. Every single name on this list, when contacted, will unconditionally testify to the truth of the above information; not only that, but they would be happy to see this sociopathic criminal go to jail for a long time.
From a strategic point of view, Mr. Raoul is an absolute master at hiding behind those who think are loved by him, a in-depth search of all of his (9) Thai registered companies quickly reveals that Mr. Raoul holds no Directorships in any of them. – In fact, his girlfriend Pui is the MD in at least one of these companies, as is his ex-wife (Julie Parichart-Turner). The use of Nominees, in Thailand, is a criminal offence, but Mr. Raoul does not care what happens to these people who believe he cares about them. Mr. Raoul most certainly cares about nobody but himself !
Fortunately for the sake of Justice, not all of Raoul’s victims have simply walked away; in fact there is a very strong front, which was formed by victims from, among others, Poland, Dubai & Thailand who have taken the case to the highest levels in Thai government, in order to obtain justice. There are currently some 11 Court-cases against Raoul, his girlfriend Pui and his ex-wife Julie.
In addition, there are a number of Thai individuals who have been supporting Mr. Raoul (no doubt they have also been conned into this mess, without realizing the huge damages they are doing to themselves as a result); people with substantial business & legal backgrounds, who will also be held to account in the very near future. One of Mr. Raoul’s victims is Sheikh Maktoum from the Ruling Family of Dubai who lost some Tbt. 90 million and this gentleman and his people, are now actively involved in the quest to prosecute Mr. Raoul Bianchetti to the fullest extent of the law.
Mr. Raoul & his associates are currently being charged with a number of serious crimes such as Tax-Evasion, Tax-Fraud, Money-Laundering, Theft-from-Clients, Extortion, Intimidation, Nominee-Company exploitation – and making Threatening statements to clients, suppliers & Government Officials.
As a result of numerous complaints, the Thai government is now seriously looking into the affairs of the companies owned by Mr. Bianchetti and his criminal associates.
Some of the Thai registered companies owned by Mr. Bianchetti are:
Raoul’s Sailing Center Co, Ltd. RB Power & Sailing Company, Clapham Family Company Ltd, PEET Ltd, Cybele Company Ltd, Kombat Group Ltd, Tanner & Hyde Company Ltd, Amazing Resort Company Ltd, Piero Picchiotti & Partners Asia Company Ltd.
If convicted, Mr. Raoul Bianchetti faces at least 20 years in a Thai jail, after which he would be deported to his native Italy, with a permanent ‘blacklist’ preventing him from ever returning to Thailand.
As for his various “associates”, the Thai Justice Ministry is very keen to prosecute & jail individuals who have been shown to have been aiding & abetting a criminal organization, so their futures also have a dark cloud hanging over them.
It is expected that a large number of his victims, who are scattered all over the world – and – who have not yet filed charges, will now come forward in an attempt to claim their losses, – however; they will find very few assets to be liquefied, hence this Italian fraudster leaves a long trail of financial devastation, not to mention many‘s battered dreams’ in his wake.
As one victim tearfully put it: “Raoul built me a very expensive Floating Death-Trap ”.