25 Apr, 2022 @ 17:21
1 min read

Real estate promoters hauled to court for illegally-built homes sold to British buyers in Spain’s Murcia

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THREE real estate promoters are going on trial this week for defrauding British nationals over new home sales at El Valle del Sol in the Murcia region.

Prosecutors accuse the defendants from the defunct promoter, Hipocampo, of selling properties, some of which had already been built, on ‘rural’ land they did not own at ‘Trampolin Hills’.

The names of the defendants have not been released.

Two men behind Hipocampo, Antonio Martinez and his ex-business partner Rafael Aguilera, were jailed for five and four years each respectively after a trial last autumn.

Martinez was found guilty of defrauding a dozen British families over off-plan property sales.

Despite ‘debt-free’ promises, buyers discovered homes had been mortgaged twice with loans of up to €100,000 with the now-defunct CAM bank.

Aguilera assisted Martinez in arranging the mortgages in 2007 with property owners saddled with debts averaging €100,000.

Both lodged appeals against the verdicts and sentences in January.

Developers Who Conned British Home Buyers At Murcias Trampolin Hills In Spain Appeal Against Prison Sentences
TRAMPOLIN HILLS

The new trial involving Hipocampo concerns the fraudulent use of land.

The three defendants face up to six years each in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors are using the cases of nine British couples who handed over money for their ‘dream’ homes in 2005 and 2006.

They accuse the Hipocampo defendants of building properties on land that belonged to a third party.

The trio are accused of collusion and profiteering by withholding information from the British buyers.

The landowner won a four-year battle to get control of his land in 2006, with a court recognising his right to even demolish what was built on it.

One of the Hipocampo directors however signed a €1 million deal with the owner for the land, but he never got the money.

Most of the home purchasers were unaware of what had been going on until 2009 when a court reinforced the original 2006 ruling in favour of the landowner.

It meant that he could grab all the houses and the land that had been illegally used.

Some years later, another court ruled the landowner could either pay the British owners the market value of their homes, or to sell the ‘built-on’ land to them as valued by an independent expert.

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