30 Aug, 2010 @ 09:30
1 min read

MRI petition launched

EXCLUSIVE by Nicola Cowell

A PETITION has been launched against property mogul Darragh Macanthony’s beleaguered firm MRI.

So far nearly 500 people have signed up to demand action against the Costa del Sol-based company.

Macanthony, chairman of struggling Peterborough United Football Club, is accused of misleading hundreds of property investors, who have lost their life savings in bogus deals.

Meanwhile the property boss, who has lived in Marbella for years, has been looking at various investments in the US.

The Misled Realty Investors Support Group (MRISG) claims MRI falsely led them to believe they were investing money in property or furniture packs that never materialised.

A spokesman from the group said: “Thousands of people have lost their life savings in the form of deposits paid for properties that were either not built or not finished.

“They promised renting arrangements that have never happened, and furniture packs that were never delivered.”

After long delays in receiving paid-for furniture, many investors were told that the company was waiting until there were enough orders for the delivery to be warranted.

But, after reading the amended terms and conditions, they found that if their order was over a year old they would not receive their furniture.

The Support Group claims that many of them were told that the furniture companies had gone bust and MRI was not liable to reimburse its customers.

With the company advertising on television and at large exhibitions, potential investors had no reason to believe that they could end up out of pocket until it was too late.

In fact, many companies that appear linked to MRI, are now going into voluntary liquidation.

And, although CEO Dominic Pickering is adamant that companies such as MRI Overseas Property are not linked to MRI, the support group is not convinced.

MRI Media, formerly called MacAnthony Realty International UK Limited, reportedly owes around £560,000.

Despite numerous attempts the Olive Press was unable to speak to a representative in Spain for MRI or Dominic Pickering.

Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

Do you have a story? Contact newsdesk@theolivepress.es


  1. Yes, I am one of many unlucky people who had dealings with MRI, they sold us properties then mortgaged the land. We lost £70,000 for two properties in Bulgaria which we couldnt complete on because of the false promises for guaranteed mortgages that never materialised. Hope he gets whats coming to him!!

  2. we have lost about £70000.00
    our contracts stated that the properties could not be re mortgaged and we found out they had been to the banks. This means that if the site went bust the banks would get the first lot of money even though we had paid our deposits first and our contract clearly stated they couldnt re mortgage without our consent
    It is a scandal. We lost all faith in them and terminated our contract. No body wants to know.
    If anyone can help in this contact me or if you have suffered through mri

  3. Thank you, Olive Press, for this article. There is NO DOUBT that companies instrumental in parting investors from their money were, despite Mr Pickering’s denials, linked to MRI or that the Terms and Conditions mentioned were altered from the original to allow MRI an excuse to keep money they had taken for furniture packs but spent on other things. The scam of persuading investors to switch investments and pay further fees by lying about rival developers’ financial circumstances is not mentioned here but speaks volumes about the ineptitude and apathy of the legal system and the European Parliamentary system which allows them to get away with it. The press, the support group and a few fearless MP’s are all that stand in the way of these ruthless and greedy con men continuing to fleece ‘investors’.

  4. Well done Olive Press you’ve managed what the bigger English and Irish newspapers have failed to do thanks to Carter Ruck who slap a libel suit on anyone who tries to tell the truth about MRI and its associate companies and directors. The MRISG group has been threatened and libeled by Dominic Pickering and MacAnthony wont even deign to coment unless its to accuse MRISG members of threatening him and his family – something that proved to be a waste of police time. Its way beyond time that some help from more politicians and police was forthcoming for us ‘little’ people who are being scammed. So far I have only lost my furniture money and several years of rental income – MRI pulled out of Morocco where I have been attempting to purchase a property for 3 years, and which is still in the hands of the Moroccan court. You might also wish to consider investigating the so called independent solicitors that MRI encourage investors to go with – Martinez Echivarria/Legal Independence – Who certainly did not protect my interests in Morocco or advise me correctly and I have now had to go to more expense to hire a new lawyer to fight my case against the developer in Moroccan court.

  5. I was sold an off-plan property by MRI in July 2007 in Pizzo, Calabria, Italy. We returned in July 2008 to see progress only to discover the development was on a different site than the one shown to us. We immediately took this up with MRI who gave us the runaround for almost a year. Finally they met us in Belfast in May 2009 and advised us not to complete as there had been underhand dealings including bribery, between the developer and the government. They offered us to switch to their development in Portugal on the payment of a further €5000, which we gave. We have heard nothing since and they have failed to respond to any emails we have sent.

  6. I went to Bulgaria in 2005 having been told by MRI that they had a new frontline development at Nestinarka. Having arrived I was shown developments in Sunny beach area which I was not interested in and reluctantly shown Nestinarka. I along with others were shown where the development would be, frontline with nothing being able to be built infront, sea views, guaranteed 6.5% rental income etc. Just what I was after. I was taken back late to their office to discuss the purchase with their advisers who disuaded me from one apartment and recommended 3 studios and selling one before completion, which they could do for me. They jotted down calculations which were based on fictitious figures and ignored things like 15% selling commission used 35% increase in value etc. The following morning I was introduced to the independent solicitors Legal Independence who provided a contract for me to sign and took a deposit.

    It later turned out that they did not act in my interest, were expensive and tried to get money by any means possible.

    The complex was due for completion 2007 and was late. It turned out to be built well back from the position shown, buildings in front and a second phase for the complex planned for completion 2009 (still not finished) When MRI were chllenged over these matters we were told that the developer was a very bad man and offered a swap to Bansko or Portugal at significant cost/loss. They had known nothing about the second phase. I rejected their swaps and asked LI if they were not in breach of contract as it was not frontline, had no sea view etc. They advised that unless I completed there was little I could do, so I did.

    During the build I asked about the rental and was ent an appendix covering it but was told this would be signed at completion. At completion I was told the appendix only applied if the rental was written into my contract which it was not.

    I took MRI up on their support contract which offered resale, regular photos of the build, pick up from airport, snagging etc and found the service useless. Their website still showed a building site whn the property was at its third floor. I put one studio up for resale and despite the promise of being given a number to monitor number of people shown round etc, never even got the reference number or saw any sign of advertising it.

    At completion I visited site and carried out a snagging list, fortunately I did get my cheap furniture available from one of the local DIY stores. I then met with LI and the developer with another buyer and we discssed the snagging list which was long. LI agreed that if we transferred the money to them that they would get a protocol in place to ensure that the faults were corrected and the gardens landscaped within fixed timescales. They completed paid over money and never did the protocol.

    Since then they have offered a rental contract for 400 euros/property but would not provide details of the rental without payment so I refused. They also offered Bulgarian wills for big money which I obtained elsewhere for £99.

    I am still unable to sell as the site is still not finished.

    As what was initially planned as an investment for retirement this has turned into a nightmare and I am in contact with a lot of others who are in many cases worse off.

  7. While looking up one of your competitors, I found 510 complaints about MRI on the ‘Complaints Board’ website.

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