17 Dec, 2010 @ 17:27
1 min read

Whitehall to the rescue

By Amie Keeley

THE British government has appointed an overseas property advisor following pressure from expat action groups who have lost millions in Spanish property scams.

The move comes after it was recently reported 300 Britons lost 40 million euros in deposits to Estepona Beach and Country Club near Marbella, part of which was never built.

The overseas advisor will advise British victims of property fraud and direct them to the correct Spanish government authorities.

But some pressure groups argue that laws are not tight enough and have too many loopholes allowing bogus property developers to con hundreds of expats.

The British ambassador to Spain has also raised some issues with the Andalucian regional government and the Minister for Public Works and Housing, including illegal permits and the time and cost spent resolving property disputes.

A spokesman for the British Embassy in Madrid said they cannot influence Spanish legislation, but are putting pressure on the authorities to do something about the problems effecting UK citizens and Spain’s reputation abroad.

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.

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  1. “The overseas advisor will advise British victims of property fraud and direct them to the correct Spanish government authorities.”

    So they’ll get advice about their property irregularities and then be directed back to the people who created the problems (and profited from them) in the first place. Great logic. A class action lawsuit at the Court of Human Rights is the only way to go here.

  2. No matter who committed the fraud, we have to remember some key facts: it is Spanish law that permitted the frauds to occur and continue to occur; it was the Spanish legal system that did not come to the aid of the people who were being defrauded; and it was the lovely Spanish lawyers and notaries who handled all the fraudulent paperwork and who did not scrutinise or warn their clients. I wonder what Marcelo has to say about that?

    When you have a legal and planning system here that is the equiavalent of Zimbabwe it opens up lots of possibilites for fraudsters. They know that Spain is so inefficient and lawless that they can get away with these scams over and over again. Nothing will change of course, this will continue for decades to come.

  3. I agree with Fred, this step by the UK government again shows they do things for their own public relations benefit, but really are as worthless as tits on a boar.
    The UK act to appoint an “Advisor” to Brits who suffer financial injury from Spanish property purchases = worthless
    That “Advisor” and even the UK Government have NO influence on Spanish practices and Law. Tough, but that’s it.
    The real problem is the long term tradition of Spanish corruption/practices which historically can be traced from the central Spanish Government down to Real Estate Agents and all in between. A Class Action Suit against Individuals may have merit. Don’t expect the UK or Spanish Governments to help!

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