File photo of one of the Aifos court cases. / SUR

Sentence expected soon in Malaga's biggest ever business bankruptcy case

If found responsible for the developer Aifos going into liquidation, owner Jesús Ruiz could be ordered to pay 120.4 million euros

NURIA TRIGUERO MALAGA.

It is the biggest business bankruptcy ever in Malaga province and the court proceedings to determine whether the founder of property developer Aifos, Jesús Ruiz Casado, and his wife Teresa Maldonado are to blame are now in their final stages. All that remains is for Judge María Jesús del Pilar to make and announce her decision.

If she decides that Ruiz is culpable, he could face a 12-year ban on managing companies and an order to pay Aifos' asset deficit of 120.4 million euros from his own assets. Maldonado, who was joint administrator for several years, could face a five-year ban and an order to pay 20 per cent of the deficit, which would be 24 million euros.

It is 14 years since the Aifos case first came to court and the figures involved are staggering: 890 million euros in debts, 5,000 creditors and an asset deficit of 120.4 million euros. This case on its own has contributed to a large extent to the huge backlog at Malaga's No. 1 Mercantile Court.

Lawyer Carlos Comitre, who represents hundreds of Aifos homebuyers, insists that there is plenty of evidence to find Jesús Ruiz guilty.

In his declarations to the court he referred to 'creative' accounting, accused Ruiz of transferring hundreds of properties to another company he owned after declaring Aifos bankrupt in order to defraud creditors, said there had been hundreds of lawsuits for alleged breach of contract and that he had failed to cooperate with the insolvency administrators.

Most of Aifos' assets have already been sold and those that remain may be difficult to unload. One property in Seville province is reported to be infested by the Nile Fever mosquito and another in Granada may face town planning problems.