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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 helicopters.

In a strange twist, Gregoire had himself bought the property in 2003, a year after the previous owner died in a plane crash.

Source: www.wine-searcher.com