DISGRACED construction magnate Ruben Otero has blamed the collapse of his company on the war in Ukraine in a letter to employees.
The embattled developer went on to say an ‘increase in building materials’ had taken its toll on his schemes along the Costa del Sol.
As many as 130 staff are now facing collective dismissal, while hundreds of victims have now contacted lawyers, the newspaper understands.
In the letter to employees, sent on Valentine’s Day, the Galician businessman gave them 15 days to ‘choose representatives’ for negotiation.
The Olive Press – which broke the story three weeks ago – has heard that staff have been offered a ‘one-off’ €2,000 redundancy payment in exchange for signing a nondisclosure agreement.
We can also reveal Otero is the director of a staggering 39 companies in Spain, many with a turnover of millions and most of them subsidiaries of the Otero Group.
Otero has yet to release a public statement on the scandal, which has left hundreds of buyers and dozens of contractors likely to have lost money across up to a dozen developments.
Meanwhile, legal firm Martinez-Echevarria, which is representing dozens of investors, told the Olive Press a decision would be made on legal action next month.
“We are still gathering together our clients who want to participate in the action,” lawyer Fermin Martinez said.
These investors, those with unfinished properties who stand to lose the most, have been reporting that they all received letters from Otero between January 30 and the first week of February demanding further money – after the Olive Press broke the scandal.
The letters made similar excuses as those to employees, blaming ‘unforeseen circumstances’ for the breakdown and demanding a further €125,000 on top of investments already made.
Those beleaguered clients who refuse to pay the enormous figure face the prospect of never getting their hands on the keys to their villas, even as the prospect of them ever being finished diminishes anyway.
Other customers have even accused Otero of giving contractors access to customers’ unfinished villas to strip them bare.
But the worst news for investors comes in the report that the contracts they signed contains a provision that permits Otero to pass on materials cost increases if they go above 20%.
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