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MARBELLA

Malaga’s provincial court has overturned the dismissal last year of the case brought by around 50 victims of the alleged real estate fraud
29.07.13 - 11:16 -
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MacAnthony fraud investigation back on after successful appeal
Claimants during a protest in January last year. JOSELE-LANZA
The appeals court at the Audiencia Provincial has ordered the investigation into an alleged real estate scam on the part of the firm Mac-Anthony Realty International S.L. to be reopened.
The lawsuit was brought by around 50 claimants, most of them British and Irish citizens. They accuse several directors of the real estate firm of fraud and misappropriation, among them Darragh MacAnthony, the current chairman of Peterborough United Football Club, and Michael John Liggon.
Now the court will have to resume its investigation into claims that the clients handed over between 10,000 and 30,000 euros each for furniture packs for properties they had purchased in a number of countries, including Bulgaria, Turkey and Morocco.
The claimants “never received” these items, pointed out the law firm Lawbird Legal Services, adding that the dismissal of the case last December had come as a surprise.
A year after the investigation was initially opened, and when all the six accused had been questioned and each claimant had been called to confirm their statement in person at the court, the judge ruled that the case did not fall within the jurisdiction of the Spanish courts .
The judge argued in her ruling that the “offences had been committed abroad, as the funds had been transferred from accounts abroad, and because the alleged fraudsters were foreigners”.
The legal representatives of the claimants appealed the decision, arguing that the company was based at the time in the former Club Financiero Inmobiliario in Marbella.
Now, explains the law firm, the appeals court has accepted that the offences could have been committed in the legal jurisdiction of Marbella.
This week’s ruling establishes that it is irrelevant that the defendants are of foreign nationality (although some are Spanish in any case) and that the transfers were ordered from accounts abroad.
Luis González Ordóñez, a lawyer with Lawbird Legal Services, said: “The decision made by the Audiencia Provincial considers it logical to proceed with the criminal investigation into people who operated from this country, independent of their nationality.”

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