SINGAPORE: A domestic helper in Thailand has been left an inheritance worth 100 million baht (S$3.66 million) in assets after the death of the terminally ill French businesswoman she worked for.

Ms Nutwalai Pupongta, 49, had worked for Ms Catherine Delacote for 17 years. The Frenchwoman left the inheritance to Ms Nutwalai on her birthday.

Ms Delacote had recently been diagnosed with cancer and reportedly died by suicide on April 29 at Koh Samui. No foul play is suspected in her death, which was caused by gunshot wounds.

The 59-year-old businesswoman owned a hotel with five pool villas on Koh Samui, and among the assets Ms Nutwalai owned included land, cash, and a vehicle.

Ms Delacote moved to Koh Samui with her husband, also from France, twelve years ago, but the couple later divorced.

However, it may take a while before Ms Nutwalai receives the inheritance. The Bangkok Post reported that authorities are investigating whether the helper may inherit the assets at once.

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While Ms Delacote’s hotel had been legally built, the authorities still needed to determine her shareholdings in GVNE, the company that belonged to her.

There are three stakeholders in GVNE, with Ms Delacote owning 4 per cent. Two Thai nationals—a man and a woman owned the remainder of the shares.

The president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui said approval from the two other shareholders may be needed before Ms Delacote’s assets can be transferred.

The Frenchwoman was found lifeless near the swimming pool in the villa where she lived, with a gunshot wound to her left temple.

Her body was discovered with gunshot residue on her wrist. According to the police, a 45mm automatic firearm and a bullet shell were among the items found near her body.

The police have also said that Ms Delacote had transferred 500,000 baht (S$18,337) to Ms Nutwalai to cover the expenses for her funeral.

The Frenchwoman’s body was found at 8:00 am on April 29 by a pool maintenance worker, who immediately called his supervisor so the police could be alerted.

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Ms Delacote had acquired a firearm after a break-in occurred at the villa, Ms Nutwalai said.

The helper also said that her employer had told her that she had cancer and that she had sent messages to a number of individuals to tell them her intent to leave her assets to Ms Nutwalai. /TISG

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