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Chateau de La Riviere ex-owner’s body found in river

Police divers have recovered the body of Chateau de La Riviere's ex-owner more than a month after his helicopter crashed into the Dordogne river, but Chinese billionaire Lam Kok is still missing.

James Gregoire (left) and Lam Kok agreed the sale of La Riviere just hours before the crash. Image: Getty/AFP/Mehdi Fedouach

Several hours of DNA testing have confirmed that the body police pulled from the Dordogne at Saint-Loubes late last week is that of James Gregoire, according to French media reports.

It is around six weeks since a helicopter piloted by Gregoire and carrying Chinese billionaire Lam Kok crashed into the river on the outskirts of Bordeaux, a few days before Christmas.

It had been intended as a celebratory flight following Gregoire’s deal to sell La Riviere to Kok and his wife’s company, Brilliant Group, in a deal believed to be worth around €30m.

Kok’s wife stayed at the chateau, but Kok is now missing presumed dead. The bodies of his young son and financial adviser have already been recovered, as has the crumpled shell of the helicopter.

In January, the new general manager of La Riviere, Xavier Buffo, told decanter.com of the team’s plan to press ahead with development plans, despite the tragedy. 

‘This is still very fresh and painful, but every one of us is determined to honour their memory,’ said Buffo, who worked at the estate under Gregoire.

Written by Chris Mercer

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