Monday, 28 August 2006

Britons pay the price on Costa del Scam

Fiona Govan

This is an extract from Saturday's Daily Telegraph concerning an alleged property fraud involving most of the local council:

A short drive from the centre of the glitzy resort of Marbella on the edge of a banana plantation with views over the Mediterranean, the newly built beach front apartment seemed too good an opportunity to miss for Jack and Yvonne Burditt.

The Devonshire couple were looking to invest their life savings on a home to spend their retirement in so they handed over more than €250,000 (£170,000) and moved in right away.


The Burditts are among the many victims of an alleged property fraud that has rocked the town of Marbella on the Costa del Sol and landed more than 50 people including the mayor, councillors, developers, estate agents and lawyers in prison, pending trial for fraud, embezzlement and other charges.

In April the Madrid government took the unprecedented step of dismissing the entire town council after an investigation, dubbed Operation Malaya, claimed that it was embroiled in a network of bribes and corruption, siphoning cash from the huge construction boom of Spain's southern coast.


Christopher Winter, a music producer from Rangeworthy, near Bristol, and his wife have £40,000 invested in a rural property in the hills above Marbella that they had hoped to rent out as a holiday home before reselling at a profit.

'We paid the deposit in March 2003 and were due to take possession last spring but before we paid the final £100,000 we found out that the land was not designated for this type of building and it was therefore illegal," he said.

''The decision we have to make now is do we pay the rest and possibly throw good money after bad in the hope that the building is approved or do we pull out, lose the £40,000 and hope for compensation?"

We really feel sorry for him don't we ... no I didn't think so. Even knowing that his property has been built illegally he is still considering buying it - so that he can make a big fat profit.