AN expat has been forced to close her business after losing money to a corrupt former Estepona councillor.
Beverley Bottomley insists she shut her bookshop Glitterati in Centro Diana, in part, after losing money to accountant Manuel Reina Contreras.
The businesswoman claims that the closure after six years came after she had seen €1000 taken from her bank account by the state due to Contreras failing to do his job.
She insisted that the fine came after he failed to pay €600 she had given him in cash to pay her business rates.
“He insisted I gave it to him in cash as the money needed to be paid urgently,” recalled Bottomley, who has lived on the coast for 13 years.
“I trusted him, but it is clear none of the money I gave him was paid in, so I ended up getting an embargo on my account plus a fine.”
She continued: “He speaks very good English, which drew me to him in the first place. He was attracting a lot of English clients,”
In 2008, Contreras was arrested alongside former Estepona mayor Antonio Barrientos, in a complex web of corruption involving bribery and money-laundering.
The former Finance Minister at Estepona town hall was one of five people remanded in custody in the Astapa case.
Bottomley still cannot believe how easily he was able to set up a business so soon after getting out of prison on bail.
“How could he have been allowed to set up as an accountant and offer people financial advice?” asked Bottomley.
When questioned by the Olive Press last week, Contreras admitted: “The only thing I have to say is that I have made mistakes. I have a lot of problems and my priority now is to solve them.”