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Monday, 3 February 2014
Ex-Chateau Owner's Body Found in River!
Former estate owner James Gregoire
Police have recovered the body of the former owner of Bordeaux's Château de la Rivière,
James Gregoire. He sold the property to a Chinese billionaire, Lam Kok,
in late December and piloted a helicopter flight with the new owner to
celebrate the sale.
DNA analysis confirmed that the body found in the Dordogne river on
Thursday was that of Gregoire. Kok's body is still missing, although
divers had earlier recovered those of his 12-year-old son and his
interpreter, Peng Wang.
The police officer in charge of the investigation said an autopsy
carried out on Gregoire had not provided any clues to the cause of the
accident, which remains a mystery.
Kok was the 47-year-old head of China's Brilliant group, which
specializes in in tea and luxury hotels. On December 20, he signed an
agreement to purchase the 65-acre Château de la Rivière in a deal said
to be worth 30 million euros ($40.5 million). His plan was to turn the
estate into an elite tea- and wine-tasting retreat.
A celebratory flight over the estate in Gregoire's helicopter ended
in tragedy. A search was launched when the craft failed to return to the
château and the following day the wreckage of the Robinson R44
helicopter was found in 7 meters (23 feet) of water in the river.
Kok's wife should also have been on the flight but declined to join
the group at the last minute, explaining that she was afraid of
In a strange twist, Gregoire had himself bought the property in 2003, a year after the previous owner died in a plane crash.