A NOTORIOUS Costa del Sol property company has been accused of committing “fraud” in parliament.
MacAnthony Realty International (MRI) – founded by former timeshare salesman Darragh MacAnthony – came under attack by MP Sammy Wilson.
The Democratic Unionist Party MP for East Antrim blamed the firm, which is based in Marbella, for “defrauding members of the public”.
In an impassioned address to fellow politicians, Wilson said: “This House notes with concern the number of UK citizens who have been victims of property fraud perpetuated by MRI.
“It calls on the Government to make representations to the Spanish, Turkish and Irish governments to take steps to ensure that these companies cannot continue to defraud the public.”
“This House notes with concern the number of UK citizens who have been victims of property fraud perpetuated by MRI.”
Wilson also admitted that he had been contacted by MRI’s brusque lawyers, Carter and Ruck.
This, however, did not scare him off.
“I was approached by several constituents who had dealings with MRI and had lost thousands of pounds,” he said.
According to the Daily Mail, one reader paid a deposit of 60,000 euros through MRI on a property planned to be built in Marbella.
But she later found the developer had built on land without planning consent.
Mortgage lenders refused to touch the properties because of corruption allegations against the developer and she has been unable to complete the deal.
Chief executive of MRI, Dominic Pickering, expressed his sympathy, but blamed the Spanish legal system.
He said MRI checked the developer’s licences and they were OK, but were later revoked unexpectedly.
In 2008, the National Federation of Property Professionals was “appalled to hear of the company’s misleading business practices” and issued a 5000-euro fine.
The Serious Fraud Office has looked at MRI after complaints from people who say they have paid for properties that have never been built or handed over, but it has said the issues do not fall into the category of sufficiently serious or complex alleged fraud for it to become involved.
However, the SFO has told complainants that it believes the matter deserves further investigation and has passed evidence on to the Office of Fair Trading, which in turn has contacted regulators in Spain and Ireland.
MacAnthony, who is also the chairman of Peterborough United FC, has various homes on the Costa del Sol, said to include one in La Zagaleta, Andalucia’s most expensive development.
According to Olive Press sources he is however, spending “increasing amounts of time in the US” and is in the process of selling “various cars” including a Mclaren F1.