Turkish property scam exposed in Spain

LAST UPDATED: 7 Feb, 2011 @ 10:14
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Turkish property scam exposed in Spain

By Anatoly Kurmanaev, Jon Clarke and Nicola Cowell

POLICE have finally clamped down on a Turkish property scam exposed by the Olive Press earlier this year.

The paper understands that one of the scheme’s kingpins – New Zealander Lionel Andrews – has been arrested in Calpe, Alicante, during a nationwide swoop.

It means the noose is now tightening on his brother Nigel Andrews and his British wife Margaret ‘Mags’ Andrews, who vanished from their Marbella offices in June, allegedly taking with them investors’ deposits.

An Interpol arrest warrant has been issued for the couple, who the Olive Press, believes have fled to the Algarve.

Police in Turkey and Spain estimate the Andrews clan took up to a million euros in deposits for non-existent properties on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.

Among those losing money was a leading solicitor, as well as victims in Ukraine, Ireland, London and Luxembourg.

Police in Alicante and Marbella confirmed they had arrested a New Zealand national in connection to the Royal Resorts Turkey scheme.

It comes just weeks after we traced former MRI salesman Nigel, 51, and ‘Mags’ to a new home in the coastal town of Almerimar, in Almeria.

The couple have been ‘living the life of Riley’ in the exclusive marina, which is Almeria’s equivilent of Puerto Banus.

“They had quite a bit of money which they said they had made in Turkey,” revealed one local source, who asked not to be named.

They regularly boasted to regulars in the expat Ankara bar about their ‘successful Turkish operation’.

“They didn’t want for much and had this lovely new house and bragged about its incredible walk-in shower,” he said.

The pair, who are both allegedly black belts in karate, drove a brand new BMW X5.

But this luxury allegedly came at the expense of dozens of victims, believe Spanish police.

The group set up front companies in upmarket venues such as Marbella’s Guadalpin hotel, before disappearing overnight owing rent.

The Olive Press can confirm that Andrews and his team fled to Almeria in June leaving an unpaid month’s rent on the office in Bulevar Principe Alfonso Von Hohenlohe.

Auckland-born Andrews then changed Royal Resorts Turkey to a new company called Property Investing Overseas.
One person who got burnt by the scam was expat Tony May, 69, from Alora.

He told the Olive Press he was ‘gutted’ after he and his wife Andrea, 41, paid a 70,000 euro deposit on a property in Kusadasi.

But the resort never went ahead as Royal Resorts neither owned the land nor had planning permission.

“I am overjoyed that police are finally clamping down,” he said. “It is thanks to papers like the Olive Press that we have had this success.”

Perhaps sensing the police were already closing in, when our reporter rang their bell at their Mirador urbanisation, in Almerimar there was no reply.

A neighbour explained the couple had apparently recently ‘moved to Portugal for a job’.

However, Tony May is certain that they are soon to be picked up. “The police are searching for them.

“They can’t really move. If they go to an airport they will be arrested. And they can’t come back to Spain.”

But life on the run, as it turns out, is nothing new for Nigel.

His first flight from the creditors dates back to 2003, when he fled to Spain from Scotland where he lived for many years with nearly 1.1 million euros of debt to his name.

Together with his brother Lionel, Nigel ran an Aberdeen nightclub Vaults into the ground only five months after the opening, leaving a trail of unpaid bills.

“There is a big group of people in Aberdeen that is also looking for them both,” added May.

While in Spain Nigel has worked for Darragh MacAnthony’s ailing property firm MRI, which is now being investigated for allegedly defrauding hundreds of its customers.

10 COMMENTS

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  1. An interesting article.

    As a resident of Almerimar for over 6 years I don´t think you can really describe the place as Almería´s equivalent of Puerto Banus.

    Yes the town does have a large marina but that is where the comparison stops. Almerimar is a relatively quiet seaside town that only gets busy when the Spanish visit for summer holidays in July and Auguist each year. Not exactly the same profile as Puerto Banus.

  2. Don’t you never stop being detremental about the area. I for one think, although slightly exagerated, it is nice to be compared with Peurto Banus. People are here trying to make a living in the current Spanish climate and you say nasty things. If you don’t like it, there are some nice places in the UK that you could live.

  3. Jackie,

    I don´t think that my comment was nasty to either Almerimar or Puerto Banus. All my comment said was that the two are very different.

    Different people like different places in Spain. I love living in Almerimar and think it is a great place to live. Other people love Puerto Banus for their own reasons.

    John

  4. I also know Lionel Andrews on a business level and have indeed bought several properties through him over the years. I have only ever found him to be decent and honest. I also know of other people who have done the same. He has actualy advised my friend of not continuing with a propery purchase in Spain due to not being able to guarantee its authenticity. This advice saved her thousands and a lot of heartache.
    I cant understand how this kind of unfactual story can be written about a person when it isant true.

  5. I find it interesting that people defend this man. I met Nigel a number of times. He left a vast debt in Scotland, for the Vaults nightclub – hard and fast fact. He threatened people in Bulgaria when he worked for Darragh Macanthony’s MRI – say no more. And has now made off with peoples savings. Are the people that are defending him saying that collectively people from all over Europe have got together to fabricate a story about poor innocent Mr Andrews? Get a grip.

  6. I Also know these toe tags!! They came to Ireland with their sales seminars and duped people like myself for thousands for property in Bulgaria , Spain and Turkey. I just cant believe it took so long for the authorities to catch up with them.I wish I had have known were they were as no black belt would have saved them. They are very affable and come over as your friend but believe me these scum bags just want your money, They would even rob their parents. There is also another scammer in the name of Shawn mcgrath who is also on the run and of course Lynda Bellinghams latest husband CONVICTED FRAUDSTER AND JAILBIRD MICHAEL PATTEMORE who was in business with Lionell Andrews in Calpe and Moraira (MP Property) in Moraira.
    These people need caught, there assets frozen and Monies paid back to unsuspecting people who invested money with them.What a disgrace that Linda Bellingham can sit in a Show in the UK Loose Women and laugh and get on as if she was lily white….SHAME ON YOU BELLINGHAM!!

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