Browse Tag

The Limora Group

Trade & Regulatory Bodies: Can You Trust Them?

A couple of weeks ago Inside Timeshare published two articles, the first was on Celebrity Endorsements, the second on Sponsorship Deals. Both painted a rather sorry picture, but it doesn’t end there in the battle to get as much money out of you as possible, regardless of what the product is. There is another form of endorsement, “TRADE BODIES” and so-called “REGULATORY BODIES”.

You have all seen them, in fact, there has been a proliferation of them over the past few years, they may be small, and aimed at a specific trade, for instance, self-employed plumbers, gas fitters and a host of other things. Their purpose is to give you the confidence to employ them.

The person wanting to become a member will usually have to prove their quality, customer satisfaction and also abide by a code of conduct and ethics. Usually, the new member will be under a probationary period, then if the trade body is satisfied with how they conduct business, they will allow them to display the logo etc.

Generally, these small trade bodies work very well, rogue traders are normally weeded out fairly quickly, after all, the other traders will definitely not be happy that their livelihood is jeopardized by a rogue.

Unfortunately, it cannot be said for all Trade Bodies, it would seem that the larger and more wealthy the “TRADE”, they will do nothing to protect the consumer.

OK, you’ve guessed it.

We are talking about the RDO (Resort Development Organisation) in Europe and ARDA (American Resort Development Association) in the US. Today we will focus on the RDO.

Trade and Regulatory Bodies as we have said are there to promote good practice and quality, they have their “Codes of Conduct & Ethics”. They say they will sanction any member who breaks these rules. But do they?

Here is where I would like to bring in the subject of Silverpoint, formerly Resort Properties, the CEO was Mark Cushway. We all know the story, it has been published on Inside Timeshare, the Press, TV, and numerous forums.

How many people were duped into forking out huge sums (into the millions of Euros) on the “products” that the company peddled, and we must not forget the “PARENT” company, The Limora Group? It was the “Empire” of the late Robert “Bob” Trotta. I know the spelling for the surname is different, but it does conjure up a favourite “good villain” in a great British comedy show.

Joking aside, you only have to search Inside Timeshare to get the whole sorry tale.

This went on for years but did the RDO do anything even though both companies were “Paid-up Members”, and surely they must have received many complaints from consumers?

The answer my friends is a resounding NO!

According to the RDO “Code of Conduct & Ethics, they will not mediate in any dispute between the consumer and the member!

What a get out!

Now we introduce you to one of the former Directors of the RDO, yep, it’s our old friend Mark Cushway. As the CEO of Silverpoint/Resort Properties and under the control of The Limora Group, he was a director of the RDO until he resigned a few years ago. It should also be pointed out that Silverpoint/Resort Properties were reputedly the largest contributors to the RDO funds.

Say no more.

Mark Cushway, Former CEO Silverpoint and Former Director of The RDO

Several years ago Inside Timeshare published the article “A New Member to EGTBW”, it was a spoof article written to show how much of a joke these trade bodies are. EGTBW stands for the European Guild of Timeshare Blog Writers, it is affiliated to the IATBWG, the International Association of Timeshare Blog Writers Guilds

The “Code of Conduct & Ethics” for this article was actually inspired by the RDOs own codes and their unwillingness to act on behalf of the consumer. Everything they seem to announce and publish appears to those of us who follow these events as nothing but “Smoke & Mirrors”.

Yet they have the ear of the lawmakers, their lobbying machine is very efficient, to the point they influenced the House of Commons and the House of Lords into the very watered down English Timeshare Laws, in other words, the very basics. These laws were initially instigated by the E.U. Timeshare Directives to protect consumers and had to be placed in domestic law. Spain so far is the only European Country whose lawmakers have ignored the lobbying and put into place very strict regulations protecting the consumer of timeshare. Well, in Europe, Spain was the “Hotbed” of timeshare sales.

This is quite clearly shown with all the timeshare companies that operate in Spain who are now losing in the courts on a daily basis. It is costing them Millions of Euros, yet what do we hear from the “Trade Body”? It’s the Judges, they have got it wrong, they are interpreting the law wrongly!

What a joke, attempting to back up their “members” who are on the ropes and losing hand over fist and they blame the judges who ruled on 130 cases at The Supreme Court, Spain’s highest place of justice. If they were a genuine “Trade Body” shouldn’t they be on the side of the consumer and either make the timeshare resorts comply with the laws of the country they operate in or sanction them?

After all, their own “Code” does say that all members must abide by the jurisdiction and laws of the country they are operating in. You can’t get any plainer than that!

Once again, Inside Timeshare leaves it up to you the reader to decide, we welcome your comments so please do use the contact page or comments section. I’m sure that we will receive some good ones.

In the link below is the original article “A New Member to EGTBW”, which was first published on 14 June 2016, wow, that long ago. Have a read it will make you chuckle, but there is a very important message in there.

Inside Timeshare must point out that at the time of writing the resort mentioned had ceased to be a member. This fact was published later, but it still begs the question, if they will not protect the consumer from their own members, why did they not help consumers against the non-member, in other words, the “rogue” trader?

Below is the link to “Exclusive Breaking News: The Truth Behind Silverpoint Exposed.” It is a six-part article that was published between 5 June 2019 and 24 June 2019. The link also covers the Azure liquidations, they are also part of The Limora Group and sister company to Silverpoint.

Enjoy your reading. It certainly is an eye-opener.

If you purchased a timeshare, either fixed week, points, floating weeks or fractional and would like to know if your contract is illegal under Spanish Timeshare Laws, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Start the Week

Welcome to the start of another week with Inside Timeshare, last week we published the story of Silverpoint and the news that the court-appointed administrator has completed his review of the liquidations. For Silverpoint and the past management team this was not good news, it now clearly leaves the door open for possible criminal charges to be brought. Unfortunately, we have heard from many readers on the proliferation of cold calls regarding not just Silverpoint but also Azure in Malta.

The nature of these calls is to entice owners into parting with huge sums of cash in order to make a claim against Silverpoint or Azure. As usual, the caller states that they will get the owner out of their contract with a termination and then make a claim, the only problem here is who are they going to sue?

Both these companies along with many others of The Limora Group are in the process of being liquidated, the major law firms involved in current cases are no longer taking on any new cases because of this. It is also a fact that very few cases have ever been through the Maltese Courts against Azure, the main reason for this has been the problem of jurisdiction. This is a problem we have seen with other companies, such as the jurisdictional arguments of Diamond Resorts and Club la Costa.

As we have seen in the past, any news will be used and twisted by the unscrupulous in order to get you to part with your cash, all on the promise of receiving back your full purchase price, from a company that is liquidating. So unless you already have a case in court with a genuine law firm your case will never get to court with any of these callers.

Moving on now to our old friends at Anfi, last week was not a very good one for them, losing at every turn. Not only have they lost in the Court of First Instance, they are also losing every appeal they lodge with the High Court.

In total the courts ordered Anfi to repay clients over 150,000€ in just a few days, this is without all the other payments Anfi will be liable for, such as legal interest and the repayment of clients’ legal costs. Then there are also Anfi’s own legal costs, paying their lawyers, and also the costs of lodging the appeals with the courts.

This does make you wonder what they are playing at, they lose every case in the First Instance, appeal to the High Court, and then lose those appeals, it really does not make any sense whatsoever. Could it be that the management at Anfi are just plain stupid or are they being duped by their own lawyers with dubious appeals?

That is one question we are unable to answer, what we do know is that all of this is a blatant attempt to delay paying clients what is rightfully theirs. In the end, it will not bode well for Anfi and the management team, especially with the Provincial Prosecutors Office making criminal investigations into the movement of funds between accounts, exactly the same as Silverpoint did. As they say, watch this space.

That is all for today, if you have any questions or comments on this or any other article, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Silverpoint: Court Administrator Completes Review

After a rather lengthy process, the court-appointed administrator has now completed his review of the Silverpoint liquidation and the news is not good for the company or for several key personnel. Although the report is welcome it appears that the administrator has not included some key points which the lawyers behind the majority of cases against Silverpoint expected.

As we know a few years ago, the CEO of Silverpoint placed the company into voluntary liquidation, at the time it was already suspected that it was a ploy by the myriad of companies under the umbrella of The Limora Group to consolidate as much finance as possible for the family of the late Bob Trotta.

This now seems to have been officially recognised as the administrator has concluded the liquidation could have been avoided, had it not been for the mismanagement by the company directors and key personnel.

During his investigations, the administrator also uncovered a huge range of financial and management irregularities which he believes directly contributed to the collapse of the company. Because of this, he has classified the liquidation as “culpable”, which actually means it was a negligent bankruptcy.

The administrator also made it very clear that those responsible for the negligent bankruptcy are the former CEO Mark Cushway and the former CFO Diana Aitchinson. This obviously does not look good for either of them, there is obviously the possibility of criminal charges being brought against them, for that we shall have to wait and see.

Former Silverpoint CEO Mark Cushway

On the role of Kwang Boon Sim, who we reported on in our six-part series Exclusive Breaking News: The Truth Behind Silverpoint Exposed, which lifts the lid on the dealings of The Limora Group and Kwang Boon Sim.

Although Kwang Boon Sim was not an employee or director of Silverpoint it was recognised that there is sufficient evidence that he played a significant and very influential role in the company. Remember Kwang was the financial guru for the late Bob Trotta, the Limora Group (of which Silverpoint is a part), and the heirs of Bob Trotta. (see links below to the full series).

The late Bob Trotta and his financial guru Kwang Boon Sim

It was also acknowledged by the administrator the existence of some very “dubious” transactions between Silverpoint and Excel, this point was brought to his attention by the leading law firm investigating Silverpoint on behalf of their clients, Canary Legal Alliance. These lawyers have also formally requested that the liquidation of all the other companies of Limora Group should also be investigated, which they believe will increase the overall asset value of the liquidation process.

Even though this report is welcome and is good news for the clients of CLA, they had hoped the administrator had gone further with his investigation. For instance, the administrator has acknowledged the role played by the legal advisors of Silverpoint in this situation but has not held them accountable.

It was also hoped that the corporate veil would be lifted, this would have shown a very well-orchestrated decapitalisation of Silverpoint through other entities such as Excel, Signalia and Inversiones Oasis among others.

We should also point out that from a previous investigation by Social Security, they clearly identified and highlighted the link between all these companies, so it does seem strange that all this has not formed part of the administrator’s report. But it is not over yet.

The State Attorney will study the report in detail and then will make his comments to place before the presiding judge. Along with the criminal report launched by CLA in 2019 for “allegedly” hiding and removal of funds and assets in order to obstruct payments to clients during enforcement procedures. This is known as “frustration of payments” and is in itself a criminal offence.

Further information on this can be found on the following link.

So the tangled web of deceit surrounding Silverpoint and their associates is finally becoming clear, it is also hoped that it will result in criminal charges, and those who are guilty face the full force of justice. For many of those who have been the victims of Silverpoint, it may be some comfort that justice is finally on its way.

We end today with a warning to our readers, with a lot of the news coming out about Silverpoint, there are some very unscrupulous cold-callers who will use this information in a twisted way to tempt you into signing up for termination and claim. Please be aware that even the major law firms and independent lawyers in this field are no longer taking on new Silverpoint cases, if you receive any calls on this subject please use our contact page and let Inside Timeshare know the details.

Links to six-part Silverpoint series.