Paul Hayward’s ‘Panthera’ company promoted in schools in Bangkok and Phuket
Schoolchildren in Thailand have been given free crash helmets advertising a British run company group which controls the biggest single share of Thailand’s tourism sex industry.
The helmets promote the Panthera Group a British run company running tourism sex venues including Bangkok’s Nana Plaza, which it bills as the ‘world’s biggest adult playground’.
The secretive boss, Paul Hayward, 48, from Birmingham, U.K., who controls bars where young women dance on glass ceilings dressed as schoolgirls but with no underwear and others called ‘Playskool’, ‘Spanky’s’ and ‘Lollipop’, describes the gift of 1000 helmets as part of the company’s social responsibility programme.
A statement issued though Mr. Michael T Doherty read:
“We recognize the importance of saving every single young life. The number of road fatalities in Thailand (66 a day) is truly inexcusable, at some of the highest rates in the world.”
Hayward arrived in Bangkok in his twenties to work in a call centres ‘Foreign Currency International‘ run by American James Muller followed by ‘International Asset Management’.
In 2011 after he had built up an empire of nightclubs, go-go bars, and restaurants he acquired the master-lease of Nana Plaza in Bangkok, which had overtaken Bangkok’s infamous Patpong Road as the capital’s red-light area.
An all-in-one complex, Nana contains some 70 units of go-go bars, lady-boy bars, and short-time hotels. In the bars the young women must be paid out of the bars by a set number of clients a month, or their pay can be docked.
Following his policy that sex-tourists should pay ‘the reasonable commercial rate’ he profited from the rising costs of commercial sex tourism as did many Thai authorities.
Although boasting to be the ‘King of the Clubs’ Hayward is camera shy and very little has been written about him in the main-stream media, despite his supposed ‘Midas’ touch and wealth estimated to be over US$700 million.
His repeated claims that he planned to float ‘Panthera’ on the Stock Market have not come to fruition.
This maybe because the Panthera Group is the cover for more than 150 private companies formed under the umbrellas of the ‘Hospitality Venture Group and Eclipse Management, many linked to offshore holding companies according to a report commission by the U.S. State Department seen by the author.
On the net there are widespread claims that Hayward made his cash in boiler room ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ scams and an organisation calling itself the Confederation of Defrauded Victims says it is chasing him for US$20 million.
On its Fraud Recovery website the group, which has invited Hayward to sue, provides a ‘snapshot’ of ‘boiler rooms’ it alleges he has been involved in or controlled. It gives a fairly comprehensive account of how a young Birmingham lad ran two small companies into administration in the UK before getting a job in telesales in Bangkok becoming an almost instant millionaire. He was not selling Avon products.
But Hayward has always denied that he was a ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ fraudster despite claims by previous employees who have all fled Thailand.
Midas-PR the agency which promoted the gift of the helmets to the Bangkok schools through the AIP Foundation ‘Safe Roads for Life’ programme did not return messages or calls about Hayward’s latest promotion.
However they insisted they did the PR ‘pro bono’ for the ‘Helmets for Kids’ campaign, and by default the Panthera Group as well; stating:
“The Panthera Group is one of the fastest growing, privately owned companies in Thailand, with operations in Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya and Koh Samui. The recently rebranded Group was formed over 17 years ago as an amalgamation of various Food & Beverage, nightlife, Hotel, Property, Investment and Management companies. Since then the company has evolved into a diversified group with dozens of outlets throughout Thailand. The Panthera Group operates according to a set of established values and beliefs enabling it to achieve and maintain excellence in their relevant business sectors, whilst generating strong consistent returns for their investors and stakeholders.”
What has been printed in the mainstream media is that on July 2001, Hayward, from Birmingham, together with three members of International Asset Management (IAM)was stopped by police at Bangkok International airport. This followed a series of raids in the city on boiler room fraud operations, prompted by the FBI and Australian Federal Police.
I.A.M and Foreign Currency International, turned out to be more than just call centres. They too were engaged in selling fraudulent shares with fake websites, brokers and shares. In fact its all they did.
But the Thai authorities were much more interested in what was in their bags than bringing a case.
The Bangkok Post reported that Hayward and his colleagues handed over US$100,000 and 4.2 million Thai baht (US$40,000 at today’s rates) before they could continue their journey.
“They offered to give the cash to the Thai government to help out with its economic problems. They were members of an illegal trading company, but we did not have evidence at the airport to arrest them,” police told the Bangkok Post reporter.
Whistle-blowers further claim that Hayward has been helping Thai authorities ever since and had subsequently also run boiler room operations out of Bucharest, Kuala Lumpur, Phnom Penh, Jakarta, and Manila.
John McCleary, an American-Thai from Florida has made statements to the authorities in the United States claiming that he had been Hayward’s ‘bagman’ and on behalf of Hayward he distributed large amounts of cash to specific officers in the Metropolitan, Immigration and Crime Suppression Police in Bangkok and the country’s Anti-Money Laundering Office.
Hayward was the ‘Paul Hilton’ identified by the Guardian’s Consumer Champion Tony Levene as the man behind the Manila based ‘Legacy Global Wealth’ boiler-room and who also controlled the ‘Jackson Cole’ boiler room scam which ripped off tens of millions of pounds from British victims.
An investigation was begun in 2006 and resumed in 2015 by the Economic Crime Unit of the London City Police (City Fraud Squad) into Hayward’s activities including the purchase in 2010 of Crawley Town Football Club, through his company Eclipse Management – the forerunner to Panthera.
But Hayward sold the club to a Turkish businessman and the investigation was wound up by Detective Inspector Nigel Howard and handed over to the Panama Papers Committee.
Hayward is regarded by many as one of the lucky survivors of a turbulent and sometimes violent period of foreign boiler room activity in Thailand. There were mysterious deaths. Former colleague Glendon Bullard from Georgia, U.S. died of a ‘drugs overdose’ in Pai, Northern Thailand in 2014. Hayward’s long-term partner Mark Hutcherson died of ‘gunshot woods’ in Plano, Texas the same year. Hutcherson had been the victim of a kidnap in Bangkok in 2008 paying over US$400,000 for his release. Hayward’s ‘accountant’ Donald ‘Cameron’ Kern died of a ‘heroin overdose’ in Omni Towers, Bangkok in 2003. ‘Cameron’ was one of Hayward’s colleagues from I.A.M. arrested at Bangkok airport in 2001 and more recently his ‘money man’.
Probably the most spectacular death, which like the previous was never pursued by the Thai police was the assassination of Briton Tony Kenway from Southampton, who was shot in the driving seat of his Porsche outside a fitness club in the Thai resort of Pattaya in 2017.
In washing his history Hayward sold some local operations or ‘rooms’ off to another Briton Mark Howship, aka, ‘Twitchy, also from Birmingham, who has many property interests in Nippa Noi, Koh Samui and has pride of place in the Panama Papers.
Hayward also been a well publicised donor to Father Joe Maier’s Human Development Foundation, in Bangkok taking over that role from John Kealy former boss of the ‘Brinton Group’ and other boiler rooms which were taken down by police in 2001. They had taken Australian investors for over A$400 million. Kealy remained in Thailand until his case reached the Supreme Court, then he moved to Hong Kong.