By Jon Clarke, in Torremolinos
A SPANISH Lawyer has been grilled over the defrauding of dozens of British clients dating back up to ten years.
Jose Luis Garcia Maseda, 69, appeared at Court Number 4 at Torremolinos Crown Court, on Spain’s Costa del Sol, today (Thursday) to face the accusations of the first 45 victims.
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In a committal hearing that lasted for over three hours he was accused of embezzlement and fraudulently taking ‘at least 1.8m euros’ from the string of mostly British clients.
Arriving in a police van, he was kept in handcuffs throughout the hearing, that involved three separate class actions.
Maseda, who claimed to be a lawyer, financial consultant and tax advisor, convinced hundreds of clients to invest their money from his Eurobrokers office, in Benalmadena.
In many cases he even persuaded his victims to sign over power of attorney which enabled him to take out massive mortgages in their names.
The lawyer is accused alongside six others, including a British businessman, who referred many of the clients to him, as well as his wife.
The others – along with various witnesses and further victims – will testify from Monday.
A detective at Benalmadena Police explained: “As the investigation has gone on, more and more people have come forward saying they have lost money, and Masada’s name is mentioned.”
One of lawyers Ramon Guerrero, who is representing 20 clients, said: “Most of my clients lost money over a defunct golf course scheme.
“There are at least 15 more and we are hoping that the Judge orders a full investigation of his assets.”
Over 45 victims were represented in court today by another brief Juan Carlos Carrasco García, who claims to know of at least 50 more victims.
A father and son from Liverpool are among the victims, claiming that they lost 185,000 euros and 80,000 euros after investing in houses that were never built.
Another British investor claims to have lost 200,000 euros in a similar scheme.
“My clients have lost well over one million euros between them and I am certain there are many, many more,” said Carrasco from legal practice Dextra Legal.
Maseda, who was wearing a scruffy blue wind cheater and yellow cords, was awarded bail and has been ordered to report to the court on the first and 15th of each month.
He was picked up on an arrest warrant yesterday (Wednesday) at a rented home in Torremolinos.