EXCLUSIVE By Nicola Cowell
A BRITISH couple have apparently gone ‘on the run’ after an estimated one million euros of investors’ money went missing.
Nigel and Margaret ‘Mags’ Andrews are said to have disappeared without trace from their base in Marbella, where they were promoting a now-defunct Turkish property scheme.
Police have been called in to investigate the Scottish couple, who had been marketing the Royal Resorts Turkey project from an office at the Guadalpin Hotel until a fortnight ago.
Investors of the 190-apartment scheme in Kusadasi, Turkey, got a shock to discover that the office has now closed and the couple are no longer answering emails or phone calls. Their Facebook account has also been closed.
The couple vanished after a number of investors put down a series of large deposits, one reportedly more than 200,000 euros.
It has since emerged that the supposed developer did not own the land, nor have planning permission for the seven blocks of apartments, which are unlikely to ever be built.
“I am gutted,” one investor Tony May, 69, told the Olive Press, last night.
He and his wife Andrea, 41, paid 70,000 euros as a deposit on an apartment in the complex in September last year.
The ex-pats, who live in Malaga, met the Andrews’ after Tony was making internet enquiries about land in Brazil for a friend. His details were picked up by a company called Investing Overseas and, eventually, Robin Lewiston from Royal Resorts.
They explained that the deal involved a guarantee to rent out the apartment for five years.
“We would than have the chance to sell it for 50 per cent more than we had paid,” explained May, who has now reported the couple to police in Marbella.
Alarm bells started to ring, when it emerged that their deposit had been paid into an account in Gibraltar, which was not in the name of Royal Resorts Turkey.
They then discovered that Nigel Andrews had fled to Spain from Aberdeen in 2003 with 700,000 euros of debt from a failed nightclub venture with brother Lionel.
They believe the couple may now be hiding out in Bulgaria as Andrews apparently held a Bulgarian passport and owned a Bulgarian-registered black BMW.
Ex-pilot May added: “This investment was for my nine year old son Ralph and my wife when I am no longer around. We are very upset.
“The last email we got was from Margaret in March saying everything was underway. She even sent photos of the supposed development as some kind of proof.
“As it turns out, this is not the development at all. Then after I failed to get through to them by phone or email, I went down to the office in person to discover it was shut.
“A receptionist at the hotel said they had been there one afternoon and gone the next.
“Alarmingly, she added that I was not the first person to ask and quite a lot of people had been looking for them.”
Tony managed to contact a former salesman for the company, Robin Lewiston, who insisted that the Royal Resorts Turkey scheme was not a scam.
In an email disclosed to The Olive Press, he said: “It all fell apart due to the people in Turkey. I don’t know what the position is now with the company as it all happened so quickly.
“I’ve not seen Nigel for some time and don’t know where he is.”
The paper was unable to contact the couple.
The case is being investigated by Turkish police, according to reports in Scotland, and lawyers based in Istanbul are trying to recoup some of the missing deposits.
It has emerged that the Dutch architect who drew up the defunct scheme has also not been paid.
Anyone who has had dealings with Royal Resorts Turkey, or with any more information, can contact Tony at [email protected]