If you’ve got it flaunt it and that certainly seems to be true in the case of Norwegian ‘property developer’ Kurt Svendheim whose house, or rather interconnected houses, were raided in Pattaya ten days ago.

Pic – Kurt Svendheim outside New Nordic offices

City officials and Thai Customs claimed they were raiding the houses after complaints of noisy parties, but I’m not falling for that one.

Inside they found scores of foreigner males partying with Thai women, and seemed to be impressed with the wealth of the owner, who for some odd reason did not seem to get a mention in the local press in which he advertises frequently.

They also found a massive stocks of wine and champagne and every drink under the sun, plus a Porsche, Ferrari and Rolls Royce.

Svendheim, 47, from Haugesund, another pillar of Pattaya’s high society is the boss of New Nordic Property in Pattaya with several projects on the way so to speak. I am somewhat surprised that he is not a local Rotary Club President.

He is much better known in Norway where together with a colleague Geir Underbakke he sold properties in Brazil and Bulgaria to Norwegians and almost took down the Hjemeland Sparekassen (Homeland Bank).

A lot of these properties did not materialise but not only had he taken millions from investors but also some 70 million Norwegian kroner from the bank – about US$8.3 million.

A bank employee Stale Hasle  faced the music for that and the Norwegian authorities expressed an interest in getting Svendheim him home to testify as they were unsatisfied with his answers over the phone, but that all seems to have died – or has it?

Pic: Stale Halsne

Stale Halsne was sentenced in Stavanger District Court for misappropriating bank funds.  A book was published and the blurb for it says:

The book Betrayal in Hjelmeland is a harrowing account of how a bank’s management did everything possible to get press, police and public to believe that they knew nothing about what Ståle Halsne did when he collaborated with Geir Underbakke and Kurt Svendheim and that he intentionally ruined the bank.

Svendheim claimed that the reason his projects went belly up was ‘the recession’ and I have lost count of how many timest hat one has been used.

Thailand is currently undergoing difficult financial times but there was no indication of that at Svendheims’s home.

While the Pattaya rags have kept shtum Svendheim did speak to a Thai-Norwegian website to re-assure investors in his properties in Thailand. He is not losing any sleep apparently.

Two of his companies ‘Dream Apartments’ and ‘Holiday Dreams’ have been made bankrupt (Mind you he appears to have 14 assorted companies in this mish mash).

But he says: ‘Thailand Dreams’ and ‘Thailand Dreams III are ‘standing on safe ground’.  I guess there is a Thailand II in there somewhere.

Investors who lost all in his projects may be a little irritated by his show of wealth.

Meanwhile, according to press reports, the person who took the fall was a woman called  Pornchanok Kamphapan. According to Khao Sod:

“She told security officers in the raid that her husband, a foreigner who works at a hotel in Pattaya, actually owns the place and likes to invite his friends to parties at the mansion.”

Her husband she said was not present which seems a bit silly as he was throwing the party.

However Customs officers took her into custody (very temporarily I am sure)  and estimated that they were owed 1.2 million baht in unpaid taxes – and took the Aston Martin and a good range of booze.

There of course seems to be some mistake here. If what was on show was not taxed then there is something wrong with the tax department’s figures.

Expect a Thai solution to this one and of course his current projects will be doing fine….until they are not.

Pic: Customs line-up and show part of their haul


  1. As a Norwegian I find this hilarious. I always believed New Nordic had a solid reputation but it seems to me that most owners here in Pattaya running a business are just crooks.

  2. It makes you wonder if there are any property developments in the foreigner-centric destinations in Thailand that are not poisonous. The relative wealth of Norway makes retirees a lucrative target, but my interactions with Norwegians is that they tend to be conservative and careful compared to say Brits and Aussies who have bought into the property dream hook, line and sinker.

  3. There was a thread on this on Pattaya addicts since deleted…several posters claimed to have been present and vouched for the Norwegian as being a "good guy"…some claimed he owned hotel(s) in pattaya too….

    Interesting that only Khaosod covered the story too…

  4. White collar crime hurts more people than blue collar crime ever will – so why the world-wide police obsession with the latter at the cost of ignoring the former?

    It's a one word answer – $$$$$$

    1. Financial crime is hard to prosecute as it requires a lot of people sifting a lot of financial paperwork to find a theft or fraud. This can be hard to explain to a judge or jury so conviction rates are low and indeed many of the perps get away with it.
      It is also no crime to fail in business.
      Catching speeders is a lot easier.

  5. None of the Thai national and local press cover stories such as the false barrister being locked up for three years or the American con man being granted bail to return to the USA despite being convicted.
    The wole of Thailand is awash with crooks running away from the law in the UK. There are also the likes of a guy who left a terraced house in places like Grimsby to run a visa service in Pattaya which now promotes itself on Thai Visa.

    1. You make an interesting point in your first para, Jay. Why is it that the Thai media did / does not cover these stories?
      Is it simply because these people are foreigners?
      Surely not, as their activities in Thailand obviously involve and concern Thais.

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