12 Dec 2018

Samoa government to seize Grey family assets over debt

11:09 am on 12 December 2018

The Samoan government is preparing to seize assets from the prominent Grey family to cover outstanding payments on a $US20 million loan.

Aggie Greys Sheraton hotel at Vaisigano in Samoa

Aggie Greys Sheraton hotel at Vaisigano Photo: RNZI / Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

The government lent the family the money to pay for repairs to the Aggie Grey's hotel in the wake of Cyclone Evan in 2012.

The Aggie Grey's hotel and bungalows in Apia were sold to Chinese investors in September last year.

The Samoa Observer reported the new owners had become embroiled in the government loan.

Finance Minister Sili Epa Tuioti said the government was negotiating with the new owners on the payments.

Some have already been paid by the Grey family but if the rest is not paid by January, the government will start siezing the Grey's assets, he said

It is unclear why the family's assets are at risk since it no longer has a shareholding in the business.

But the Samoa Observer obtained documents showing the land the hotel is on is still held by the Greys.

"There are many other assets involved in this loan and the government will take whatever is needed to recover it," Sili told the Samoa Observer.

The late Aggie Grey's son, La'auli Alan Grey, died in March, with his funeral attended by hundreds, including Prime Minister Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi.