Thai maid's B100m inheritance on hold

Nutwalai Phupongta, a 49-year-old maid working in Koh Samui, must await a probe into her late boss's assets before she can receive a 100 million baht inheritance. (Screenshot)
Nutwalai Phupongta, a 49-year-old maid working in Koh Samui, must await a probe into her late boss's assets before she can receive a 100 million baht inheritance. (Screenshot)

Authorities will investigate whether a Thai maid can right away inherit assets worth about 100 million baht from her French boss who was recently found dead at her residence on Koh Samui.

No foul play was suspected, but a probe is underway into a villa-style hotel belonging to Catherine Delacote in tambon Mae Nam on Koh Samui island in Surat Thani province.

The ill 59-year-old French woman reportedly committed suicide, leaving assets totalling about 100 million baht to Nutwalai Pupongta, 49, her housemaid of 17 years.

An initial examination found that the hotel was built legally but officials had yet to investigate the shareholdings in the late French woman's company which owned the hotel.

The company, GVNE, had three shareholders. Delacote had a 49% stake and two Thais held the rest; a Thai man from Ubon Ratchthani had a 35% stake and a Thai woman from Nakhon Si Thammarat had a 16% shareholding.

The French woman, who had divorced her French husband, was found dead near a swimming pool in the luxury villa compound on April 29. The body had a bullet hole through the temple and a gun was found at the scene.

Koh Samui police said with a court order, an estate executor could allocate the late woman's assets according to her will.

The president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui said the two Thai shareholders in Catherine's company might have to approve the transfer of the assets.

One lawyer wrote that if a company illegally included a proxy shareholder, the Interior Ministry could sell its assets.

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  • assets: things owned by a person, company etc., particularly money and property - ทรัพย์สิน
  • court: the place where legal trials take place and where crimes, etc. are judged - ศาล
  • divorce: to take legal action to end a marriage - หย่า
  • estate: all the money and property that a person owns, especially everything that is left when they die; the people having rights to an estate - กองมรดก
  • executor: someone who makes sure that things are done according to the wishes in a dead person's will - ผู้จัดการมรดกตามพินัยกรรม
  • foul play: violence or criminal action that causes someone’s death - อาชญากรรม
  • inheritance: money or objects that someone gives you when they die - มรดก
  • probe: an attempt to find out the truth about an issue, problem or accident, made by an official group (or by the media); an investigation - การตรวจสอบ  การสอบสวน
  • proxy: a person or company who acts for another person or company - ตัวแทน
  • shareholding: the amount of a company or business that somebody owns in the form of shares - การถือหุ้น
  • stake: a share or a financial involvement in something such as a business - ส่วนได้เสีย
  • suicide: the action of deliberately killing yourself - การฆ่าตัวตาย
  • temple (n): each of the flat parts at the sides of the head, at the same level as the eyes and higher -
  • transfer: to officially arrange for someone else to be the owner of something - โอน
  • will: a legal document that explains what you want to be done with your money and property after you die - พินัยกรรม
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