A BRITISH expat has been cuffed for allegedly running a €17 million timeshare scam on the Costa del Sol.

Howard Manton, who lives near Malaga, has been offered bail at €20,000.

It comes after he was linked to several bogues timeshare resale firms in the past by watchdogs The Mindtimeshare Association.

His wife, son and daughter have also been arrested

It is not known if he made bail.

Another 35 people were arrested from the same company.

Police said they believe those affected were defrauded out of nearly €17 million, with a €12 million profit being made.

Most of those arrested are also believed to be British.

It is understood the victims paid between €600 and €3,000.

Police said the suspects used forged documents to pose as legitimate businessmen and employed accomplices who would try to double-dupe victims who had already been left out of pocket by claiming they could help them get their money back.

More than €100,000 in cash, 10 designer watches, gems and seven vehicles including a Ferrari were seized during raids on a lawyer’s office and the headquarters of the firm.

A yacht has also been confiscated.

The company is based in the coastal city of Velez-Malaga, east of Malaga.

A police spokesperson said: “National Police officers have smashed a criminal organisation based in the province of Malaga specialising in timeshare fraud.

“Thirty-six people have been arrested, and another placed under formal investigation but not arrested, on suspicion of fraud, money laundering, forgery and membership of a criminal organisation.”

The spokesman added: “Among those detained are the alleged ringleader, a British man, and two lawyers believed to have been responsible for the money laundering.

“The suspects offered their customers, all British and timeshare owners, a timeshare holiday product.”

The police operation was codenamed Manta – Spanish for blanket.

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