The Audencia Nacional, Spain's central court, has started hearing its first-ever case of presumed timeshare fraud.
Normally it is a provincial-level court that hears this type of case. However the Supreme Court decided that in this instance, as those affected cover several provinces and as some banks are also in the dock for allegedly funding the scheme, that the national courthouse in Madrid should try the case.
The two accused in this long-running case are Antonio González and Paul Van Zill, heads of the Mundo Mágico travel agency, based in Malaga, which closed in 2003. They are facing six years in prison and fines for a "lengthy fraud", although lawyers acting for those who allegedly lost money are asking for stiffer sentences. In addition, the prosecution is also asking for compensation for the 651 affected people, who lost on average between 9,000 and 11,000 euros.
The accusation centres on the "increasingly aggressive sale" of holiday ownership packages for apartments, which the company wasn't sufficiently solvent to fulfill, for periods of 15-20 years.