‘THE THAI LEGAL SYSTEM IS GOOD. OTHER COUNTRIES ‘SHOULD TAKE A LEAF’ – SAYS PAUL HAYWARD IN THE WAKE OF ALLEGATIONS HE GOT HIS RICHES BY SCAMMING THE PENSION FUNDS OF PEOPLE WORLDWIDE
Paul Hayward, described as the King of Clubs in Thailand, has broken his silence, and presented himself as an honest hard-working businessman in Bangkok. He has been a recluse, he says ,because the customers come first rather than the media.
This is a departure from a previous statement that as his name was not on anything and he did not have a bank account or credit cards nobody could touch him, but will nevertheless be a surprise to people like the ‘Confederation of Defrauded Victims’.
But the man who made his fortune in scamming people on the internet blagging his way to the top of the boiler room business in Asia is clearly troubled by allegations made on this site and he takes the offensive against an unnamed blogger.
Backing the Thai legal system, which even most Thais want changing, he does not name his opponent – but it is clearly the author of THIS site. So here’s another medal due to the Flying Sporran.
Here below is the interview in which Stickboy comes to his aid – plus the questions he never asked and the answers he never gave from The Flying Sporran
Earlier this week I had the chance to sit down with the man behind Thailand’s largest entertainment and nightlife group that own countless bars, clubs and restaurants across Bangkok and beyond including the world famous Nana Plaza. Paul Hayward does not do interviews. Until now, when he agreed to sit down with Stickboy…
Paul, this is your first ever interview. I would like to first thank you for allowing Stickboy Bangkok this opportunity.
You’re very welcome
I’m going to dive right in. Why has it taken 17 years for you to do this?
I’m not one for drawing attention to myself in the media. I always believed in business the important people are your customers. I would rather spend my time shaking hands and getting to know people rather than being behind a keyboard or a microphone.
Truthful answer: Well in my business you need to keep a low profile. I’m not going to give interviews while setting up scams. You won’t find my name on anything but Andrew Drummond has. So that’s why I am arranging this interview to discredit him.
Times have changed and social media is the most powerful source to communicate with your audience, so this old dinosaur needs to step up his game.
STICKBOY: Recently a website stated you are the largest nightlife operator in Thailand by a country mile, is this true?
HAYWARD:I guess so. People should also understand this has taken Mickey Doherty and 1 almost 2 decades to build. We started with just a couple of bars and then built it up from there, adding 1-2 bars a year. It doesn’t sound much but over 20 years it adds up.
FLYING SPORRAN: The last time I checked Hayward had nothing or at least no directorships listed with the Thai authorities, and Mickey only had a couple. All these sex bars and clubs, if they are owned by Hayward, as he claims, are in the hands of nominee directors, or were at the time of this interview. I do recognise a couple of henchman, and wives though. Mickey has not been with Hayward for 20 years. But he became the channel through which Hayward funnelled his boiler room cash.
STICKBOY:A lot of mystery and gossip surrounds the Eclipse Group. What do you have to say about that?
HAYWARD: Gossip and mystery is good for business. Nightlife is glamorous so over the years I’ve always felt any publicity is good publicity but in the last 8-9 months, some people have taken it too far.
FLYING SPORRAN: Glamorous is not the word I would have chosen to describe Nana Plaza, Baccara, or the Eden Club. He’s confusing glamour with sex. But no mystery about the Eclipse group. It’s website was taken down by Hayward a long time ago. It’s only an entity for holding cash.
STICKBOY:A well-known British blogger who fled Thailand in January has written some sensational stories about you. What do you have to say about this?
HAYWARD: This blogger fled Thailand because he had a warrant out for his arrest, no other reason. If he comes back to Thailand he will be arrested not because Thailand’s laws about freedom of speech are poor as he likes to say, Thailand takes a dim few on individuals who tell lies about others for commercial gain. If you can prove what you write Thailand is ok. If you can’t, they protect the victim.
FLYING SPORRAN: There was no warrant for my arrest when I left Thailand. A warrant was issued later when I failed to turn up for the result of an appeal of a libel case brought by a Pattaya businessman James Lumsden which I had won earlier. The warrant was withdrawn when the Supreme Court confirmed the not guilty judgment in my absence. There will be no arrest on my return – unless it’s something new that I do not know about.
My website is not done for commercial gain and has no income. Proof of truth is not a defence of libel in Thai law. Hayward should know that.
HAYWARD: A few countries could take a leaf out of Thailand’s book on this. How many lives do these bloggers ruin?
Regarding the accuracy of his stories? I would say that he has got a couple of things right like err my name and my partner’s name. The rest is bordering on ridiculous. When you get into the nightlife business you have to become thick skinned.
You will be likened to a sinister figure, the bigger you get the more absurd the rumours will become. I remember being in the clubs back home and gossiping with the other patrons about the club owners. Now people do it to me. It’s part of the business.
FLYING SPORRAN: Paul Hayward arrived here specifically to join a boiler room. He was born in March 1975 in Northampton. The boiler rooms he worked in all pretty much a matter of record now. See here. He was also the subject of a kidnap and extortion demand by Thai police (which he paid).
You certainly need to be thick skinned to cheat old aged pensioners out of their life savings. And then charge them again by falsely promising to get them their cash back.
STICKBOY: Is it true you blocked his website in Thailand?
HAYWARD:Absolutely not. He has worked hard to achieve that all by himself. He has 60+ court cases against him.
A warrant out for his arrest and he has criticised this political regime, previous ones, the Army, the Police. Thailand has had enough of him.
FLYING SPORRAN: Some mistake here surely. Where are these 60 cases? Two people suing me have now been convicted and sentenced to terms of imprisonment – for real criminal offences. The principal characters are Drew Noyes – sentenced to two years for extortion and Brian Goudie, aka, Goldie, 3 years for posing as a lawyer and former officer in the Royal Marine to defraud.
(It’s true I have criticised the Thaksin regime, the army and the police. That’s what journalists do. The government has given no reason to the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand for the blocking – I do not think the individual Ministers actually know. However, being blocked by the junta is an honour.
STICKBOY: Why haven’t you answered his accusations before now?
FLYING SPORRAN: What accusations. I saw no accusations Stickboy? He has just given you a blanket denial of everything claiming they are the imaginations of a journalist.
HAYWARD:Because I wanted to do it in the court room. But he just won’t face me. His tells his readers that he has this and he has that. Then put up or shut up. He refuses to be served by my lawyers. He emails my lawyers asking if I want an address to serve the papers, when my lawyers respond “yes” he responds “you can’t have it”.
FLYING SPORRAN: We will be meeting in a court in the UK. In view of what happened to your own whistleblowers, however, I am not giving Hayward my personal address, due to what happened to previous whistleblowers.
HAYWARD: It’s important people understand what are the traits of a good blogger. You need to be a traffic whore. The more clicks you get the more advertising money you can make. The more sensational the story the higher the traffic. If you write a story that states someone is a good guy no one will want to read it. If you write someone is a bad guy people love it. A blogger gives his audience what they want. But a really good blogger knows that he needs to be able to avoid getting into the court room at any cost as he will never be able to back up his accusations as he had made them up.
FLYING SPORRAN: That sounds like what a scammer thinks a good blogger should be. Good journalists take out the bad guys and take the risks. If you had not noticed. This is a non-commercial site. I have never taken ads here. And on the other .com site income was declined for the last 2 years for advertising.
HAYWARD: People should know the difference between journalism and blogging. Journalism is researched articles written based on facts, proof and credible sources. Any blogger who claims to be a journalist but doesn’t follow these simple rules is a disgrace because he or she is misleading people.
FLYING SPORAN: Research? I can probably give him a better account of what he has been doing for the last 15 years than he can actually remember – flights hotels, transactions, victims, couriers, former employees.
STICKBOY: How do you feel about this blogger personally?
HAYWARD: I don’t really know the man. I’ve never met him.
We have spoken three times on the phone. One time he called me fishing for gossip. The second time we spoke about an investment in his new magazine concept, which I declined. The final time we spoke is when he asked me to do an airport check on a friend of his as a favour. I only have issues with the lies he writes and that he is never man enough to stand by his accusations after an article is written.
FLYING SPORRAN: Not sure what he means. I have made the allegations and am obviously standing by them. The bit about the airport check is true though. I wanted to confirm how familiar he was with Thai Immigration Police as runaway boiler room men had had difficulty at Suvarnabhumi airport – and boiler room boys got visas easily enough. I told him I needed to get someone out of the country – How would I do it? He made two offers which he could arrange – ‘a walk through’ at Bangkok airport or a ‘drive through’ at the Malaysian border.”
HAYWARD: The other time his name came up is when I received an anonymous email asking for $20,000,000 to be paid into an offshore bank account or my life would be made difficult on Google. That email told me to contact the blogger to work out the finer details. Let’s leave that one for court, yeah?
FLYING SPORRAN: Yes, let’s leave that one for the court. An anonymous person asking you to send me US$20 million. Er, from your research how are you going to stand that up in court. If was Hayward I would have called the ‘blogger’ and recorded it, like the blogger does.
STICKBOY: Are the rumors true you worked as a telephone salesperson when you first came to Thailand?
HAYWARD:Absolutely not. Eclipse owned a chain of restaurants at the time it’s claimed I did that. What people don’t realise is Eclipse was trading in Hong Kong before expanding into Thailand in the summer of 1998.
FLYING SPORRAN: The bars of Bangkok will be resounding to guffaws at this answer. This is the closest Stickboy gets to calling him a fraudster. What’s Hong Kong got to do with the price of potatoes. And which restaurant did he work in. Must have been difficult between flights to Manila, Taipei, Phnom Penh, KL. and Hong Kong from Bangkok. etc. His first venture into the ‘hospitality industry’ came much later when he started the Hospitality Venture Group – not Eclipse. Mum had 30 per cent remember? Stickboy should be asking where the cash came from etc. (SEE CDV at this link) and to which banks in Hong Kong and Taipei his cash went first.
STICKBOY: This will be a blow to the people who believe your empire was built on millions of dollars of cash needing to be invested.
FLYING SPORRAN: It will? Pretty much all your patrons care about is their next ‘shag’.
HAYWARD:If you look at the balance sheets of my business you will see the share capital of my outlets. This includes the builds and the buys. If you look at the dividends stream of the Group you will see the dividends are greater than the share capital. That’s shows clearly we grew organically. The facts are there if people can be bothered to look. But that’s not an exciting story is it?
FLYING SPORRAN: Did you show Stickboy your books? Its a very good story and people do bother to look. In fact as you know we have your hand signed accounts for boiler room ops generating millions. Excepting Nana Plaza a lot of these places do not look as if they are making much money. It’s a very exciting story. The entertainment business is possibly the easiest business and the most typical in which to launder, as in empty venues making profits. I don’t think the new army closing times can have helped his nightclubs.
And as many of these places were bought at well over than their market value, people were queuing up to sell. N’est ce pas? Organic growth certainly – unharmed by financial safeguards.
STICKBOY: How do you think you are perceived by those who don’t know you or never met you in person?
HAYWARD: Probably as a James Bond villain with sharks under a trapdoor in my elevator? People that know me and people that don’t will have a very broad range of ideas on what I’m like. But if you want to know me, come say hello, mines a Jack Coke.
FLYING SPORRAN: I’m not guessing. Many victims, including some ex-employees have a much dimmer view than that. But he has some of the toys a James Bond villain might have.
STICKBOY: Everybody wants to know about Nana Plaza. The rumour for years was that Nana Plaza was going to be demolished then out of nowhere came the news that you guys had taken it over. How did this come about?
HAYWARD: I heard a few years ago that Q bar was going to be knocked down so I approached the then owners at the time to find out what was happening. They told me the lease was up and they couldn’t get the landlords on the phone. I always wanted to be a part of Q-Bar so I made the owners a proposition. If I can get you a new lease and provide enough cash to remodel and upgrade the place will you let me in 50/50. They agreed. We brought our side to it and the partnership was in place.
FLYING SPORRAN:And then it went crashing downhill and what happened to the partners?
HAYWARD:At the meeting I picked the landlord’s brains about property investment in the area. Indians and Thais always hear about the good property plays before farangs (foreigners). Nana Plaza was mentioned in passing. Seven sisters had inherited the land from the old boy who had passed. They wanted nothing to do with a red light area. The rest is history.
FLYING SPORRAN: ZZZZZZZZZZ. Seven sisters. Now there’s a good start to a fairy tale. I think you missed the involvement of the FICO Corporation and CIMB Bank here Paul.
STICKBOY:You have been criticised for hiking the rents. Is this criticism fair?
HAYWARD: Well it’s true. We did increase the rents to bring the prices in line with the rest of Sukhumvit. The rental on my own places are the same as Nana and some higher.
Some bars were paying 7,000 baht per month rent for the last 10 years based on old handshakes. I think they had a good run.
STICKBOY:What are the Eclipse group’s plans for the future
HAYWARD: There has been no Eclipse Group for quite some time now. We were very close to floating on the stock exchange so it made sense for a while to pool all companies under one umbrella. We abandoned that idea a few years ago so we broke the Group up into multiple corporations for tax reasons. But our plans for the future are what they always have been. To ensure we have the best product available for patrons, whether it be food, cocktails, light or sound. We will always strive to be the market leader.
FLYING SPORRAN: Not only tax evasion and to obscure the real ownerships. In that case you should remove Eclipse from the business registry. Your companies morph all the time. You never paid ‘official’ tax on the boiler rooms according to the Confederation of Defrauded Victims who have published notes written in your office just days before the tax man was due.
STICKBOY: What are the plans for Paul personally?
HAYWARD: Be healthy and be happy.
STICKBOY: Any advice to new expats coming to Thailand?
HAYWARD:Yes. Stay away from drugs and motorcycles. The amount of funerals I have been to that involves either one of those two!!!!
STICKBOY: Can you give my readers another couple of nuggets? Many are coming to Thailand and want to open businesses.
HAYWARD:OK. I will give you two more. Firstly, if you are going to be a minority shareholder in a partnership never take less that 26 percent. This must be your minimum level of entry. Thai law only really protects people at 26% as they also have to offer you a directorship at this level.
FLYINGSPORRAN: So why don’t you even have 1 per cent in any of your companies and no directorships?
HAYWARD: Secondly, your directors are important not just a formality. A Thai director with no equity in your business can transfer all of your shares out of your name without your signature at companies’ house. So think before you consider yourself clever giving the maid or your driver a few thousand to sign a bit of paper.
FLYING SPORRAN: Ever thought of practicing what you preach……
HAYWARD: Yes. Never ever put any assets in your Thai girlfriend or wife’s name. I do not understand why expats keep doing this. Love and business are not the same thing. That’s chapter one in my up and coming book.
FLYING SPORRAN: Well here’s your Thai wife and a managing director of one of your companies!
STICKBOY: Eh? You’re going to write a book?
HAYWARD:Yes. I want to write a couple actually. The first one is going to be called “An Idiots Guide to Owning a Bar in Thailand”. I want to write a very simple book for people to read before they open a bar. I am still baffled that people open a bar thinking it’s easy and do it with zero experience. 7/10 bars fail in Thailand. It’s a risky business even with experience. But the horror stories I hear about people losing their asses are endless. So I’m writing a book for them.
FLYING SPORRAN: Well that won’t be going out on Penguin.
HAYWARD: An autobiography.
Flying Sporran: Not a chance.
FLYING SPORRAN: Yes he is kidding Stickboy
HAYWARD: Let’s see. It will cost ya
FLYING SPORRAN: Everything does doesn’t it Paul?
STICKBOY: I’ll wrap things up for now by