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anfi the story behind the news

Anfi: The Story Behind the News Part Five

We end this week with Part Five of “Anfi: The Story Behind the News”. It began with the “dream” of one man, it was certainly a vision that was becoming reality, unfortunately all that was to change. Then there was the brief partnership with Tui, which gave rise to the takeover by Santana Cazorla. Since that time we have seen many boardroom clashes, court battles and the instigation of many investigations into Anfi and the controlling party. Today we highlight the latest in those battles and once again it is the Cazorla’s against the Lopesan’s.

The latest case is very interesting, it has opened up so many possibilities, but the motive behind it all is what made it more interesting.

Mercantile Court Las Palmas

The case was heard in The Mercantile Courts of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, this is after a long battle that has been quietly raging behind closed doors. In one corner is Cazorla, in the other Lopesan, and the stakes are high.

The case has ended up before the Courts as Lopesan has argued for the involuntary bankruptcy of Anfi Sales and Anfi Resorts. It has fallen on Magistrate Alberto López Vallarubia to decide on the matter.

He must now decide if these companies have sufficient assets in order to service their short-term debts, if not their insolvency should be declared. This would mean the appointment of a court administrator to manage the liquidation or salvage the companies. According to our sources, the appointed administrators would rather find a solution such as selling off the company.

The case has been brought by another of the Lopesan companies Isla Marina SL and is also a creditor of the two named companies. They claim this debt is around 30 million euros.

So this brings us to our original question, motive.

We all know or suspect that Lopesan would love to establish full control over Anfi, we also suspect that the Lyng family would also welcome that news.

According to the discussions we’ve been having with those more akin to business matters, this certainly looks like what they termed a “hostile” takeover. The more the discussion continued the more examples kept appearing, not just in timeshare but all across the board.

Could this be a “legal” way of gaining control of a company that is on the board?

As we stated, the appointed administrator has to find a solution, selling the company to pay off a debt or part of a debt is a possible solution. It may also give Lopesan if they take over the two companies the leverage they require.

At the moment it is all pure speculation, this is just one scenario albeit a very plausible one, but you will hear and be told some stories in the coming weeks until the courts make their decision public. We will then have a long wait while the Court Appointed Administrator carries out their work.

If you already have a case in the pipeline and you are not sure what you have been told is true, please contact your legal representatives, they will be able to reassure you.

This has been an interesting series of articles to research, there was a lot more information found, but then this is not the place for something of that length, maybe in the future it may all be told.

Inside Timeshare hopes, you have enjoyed the articles and they have made you think about what is going on behind the scenes, you as members have a vested interest, after all, you paid a lot of money for your membership along with the annual maintenance fees.

Many of these contracts are the subject of the many articles published about the court cases around the world of timeshare, not just Anfi, but Diamond, Marriott and others. All in breach of the laws enacted on 5 January 1999, this law has been enforced by the rulings of the Supreme Court and are very much in favour of the consumer.

If you would like to find out if your purchase is covered and you do have a valid and viable case, then to see what options are open to you, please use our contact page and we will get back to you.

Have a great weekend and join us again next week. 

Links to previous articles on the legal battles.








Anfi: The Story Behind the News Part Four

This week Inside Timeshare has been following the story of Anfi. It began with the development of the resort, the brief partnership with Tui and then the virtual takeover of the Cazorla Group. We say takeover as when they purchased their 50% share from Tui, they also took hold of the “Golden Share”, which gave them control over the board of directors. Today we revisit a story that came to light in 2016, this is the Tauro Beach Project, one that has been frought with problems and some very serious irregularities.

It all began when the Guardia Civil Nature Protection Service, SEPRONA, challenged the authorisations that were granted to Anfi to occupy over 3Km of the coast. The Guardia Civil had been running an investigation into the Anfi Group, the promoters of the project since work began to transform the beach in February of 2016.

In July 2016, La Provincia published an article about the investigation and how it had now expanded. They reported that the Department of Sustainability of the Coasts and the Sea, which comes under the Ministry of Environment, had dismissed the head of the Canary Islands Coastal Authority, José María Hernández Leon. It appears that his dismissal is based on serious irregularities found in the permissions granted to the Anfi Group for the project. This project is for the creation of a new beach, boardwalk and other facilities at the mouth of the Barranco de Tauro.

As these investigations moved along, it uncovered some very disturbing information, it was announced that the Mayor of Mogan, Onalia Bueno, is also under investigation. This was for granting a licence that had apparently expired. But this was only the tip of what was being uncovered. It was looking like unlawful acts had been committed in the execution of the regeneration works at Tauro Beach.

The plans were to convert the rock and pebble beach into a manmade sandy beach, build a marina and inland, the construction of several hotels, a shopping center and other amenities. With Anfi holding the licence to “exploit” the area for 50 years. This concession has now been legally removed.

It soon came to light that the licences and permissions to start the work and transform the beach were not issued until around 6 months after the fact. Just this alone made the work illegal.

Then there was the controversy about the sand that was to be used for the beach, it was apparently imported from Western Sahara, it is also believed that no environmental precautions were carried out on the imported sand, this is to protect the new area from invasive species.

It also came to light that this sand was imported illegally, there are international and EU rules which govern the use of any resources from this region. The UN and the EU have sanctions on this matter and the sand most definitely comes into the category. One of the reasons is that since the Spanish withdrawal from Western Sahara, Morocco has laid claim to the region and has occupied it against international condemnation.

This story was also published in the UK press, this link will take you to the Inside Timeshare article and a link to The Guardian where it was published.

The first conviction of this investigation was that of the Head of the Coastal Authority, José María Hernández Leon, it is believed that more charges and convictions may follow.

Ex-Head of the Coastal Authority, José María Hernández Leon
Now serving 3 years

During this whole episode, Inside Timeshare also published what was happening to the people who live at Tauro Beach and the small bar and restaurant situated there. They watched with horror as their beach and area were basically destroyed.

With the transformation of the beach into a flat sandy area, the natural protection of the land behind the beach and subsequently the houses were removed. At the first of the high tides and only a mild swell from a small storm, the sea breached the beach washing much of it away. It did not end there, the local population were flooded out of their homes, this had never happened before, even during some of the most violent storms.

This is just one of the incidents that took place, much of the story can be found on our pages, there are a lot of them, the following link shows just a few, there are also links within the articles to various publications and previous stories on Inside Timeshare.

The investigations are still ongoing, Anfi and the Cazorla Group are also involved and may face possible criminal charges and prosecution, along with members of Mogan Council and especially the Mayor. The discrepancies in the documentation are being viewed very severely as fraudulent, the whole affair is going much deeper and is more complicated than first envisaged.

The debacle that is the Tauro Beach Project, has not done the reputations of many individuals much good, it has also severely tarnished the reputation of Anfi. The cutting of corners, the “favours” made to get things moving and done, it is all smelling of bribery and corruption and it will all come out in the end. When it does, rest assured it will appear on these pages.

Tomorrow we end our series on Anfi: The Story Behind the News, with Part Four. This covers the latest “Boardroom” battle that has now spilled over to the courts and it is a story that shows the great animosity between the partners.








Anfi: The Story Behind the News Part Three

Welcome to Part Three of Anfi: The Story Behind the News. So far, we have given the early story of Anfi and the dream that was to turn sour. Events and decisions made in the boardroom would in the future have serious repercussions not just for Anfi, but the entire timeshare industry. Today we look at one event which has changed things forever and made Spanish Legal History, the first Supreme Court Rulings that changed the timeshare laws. It was a long-running battle as when the Timeshare Law 42/98 was enacted on 5 January 1999, the timeshare industry did not change its practices in accordance with the new laws. These were put into place as a result of various EU Timeshare Directives which sought to protect consumers of malpractice and lay down regulations on the sale of timeshare, which previously had been totally unregulated. The timeshare industry believed they were “untouchable”, that they were too big and strong and the law was wrong. As you will see this was not to be the case.

When the Timeshare Laws were enacted in 1999, the timeshare industry was given the opportunity to get their act together and adapt their contracts to comply with the law. They were also allowed what was known as a “deed of adaptation”, this allowed those contracts sold before the enactment of Law 42/98 to remain legal as they were sold before the law was put into place, but new contracts must comply.

Many timeshare companies saw this in a different light, they interpreted the law differently, they believed that the “deed of adaptation” meant that if the resort was running before the law came into force then that meant all contracts remain the same.

As with any new laws, these must be tested in the courts and placed into jurisprudence, which means they are now “set in stone”. In the beginning, very few cases ever got to court and those which did tend to be found in favour of the timeshare companies. Many lawyers would not take these cases on, it was a new law and they did not understand it. Also, they believed the timeshare companies were too big, powerful and had plenty of money, they actually believed that they would never stand a chance of winning.

All this changed on 1st April 2015 when the Supreme Court ruled on the very first timeshare case to be brought before Spain’s Highest Court.

The story begins in 2001 When a Norwegian lady, Mrs Tove Grimsbo and her husband attended a presentation at the Anfi Resort in Gran Canaria. At the time this was a relatively new resort which was the dream of the Norwegian entrepreneur Bjorn Lyng (here was the element of trust & validity) and it was also still under development. It eventually turned into one of the flagship resorts in the timeshare world.

At the time, anyone who attended a presentation was impressed with the quality of the resort and the plans that were also in place for expansion, Mr & Mrs Grimsbo were themselves impressed and they were persuaded to purchase. They duly signed the contract and paid a deposit of 700€ by credit card, this, along with the fact the contract was “in perpetuity” and not limited to the maximum of 50 years allowed by the new law made this contract illegal.

But at the time this did not seem to bother them, after all, they would have been totally unaware of the law and the fact that Anfi had disregarded it. It was not until Mr Grimsbo passed away and Mrs Grimsbo was left with ever-increasing maintenance fees and no foreseeable way out of the contract, that things changed. As they had been told during the presentation that Anfi would “buy back” their “weeks” for the same price they paid, Mrs Grimsbo approached Anfi. It is no surprise that Anfi told her that they did not “buy back weeks”, but they could place it on the resale market. Until then she was stuck with a timeshare she did not want or wanted to use. This is not surprising considering she did not want to return to Anfi because of the memories of her late husband.

She eventually decided to speak with a local lawyer, Miguel Rodriguez Cabello, a native of Arguineguin and one of the founding lawyers of Canarian Legal Alliance. He and other lawyers worked tirelessly to research the law and eventually found that Mrs Grimsbo did indeed have a very good case. This would now make legal history.

After some time, the case went in front of the Court of First Instance of San Bartelomé de Tirajana, this court found in favour of Mrs Grimsbo and declared the contract null and void plus the return of the full purchase price. Anfi immediately appealed to the High Court of Las Palmas Gran Canaria. This court confirmed the ruling and sentence of the Court of First Instance, another win for the lawyers.

Anfi did not accept this decision, they still believed that the law was wrong, that their contract was legal because they had the “deed of adaptation”, so they took the case to the Supreme Court. This belief is the basis for Anfi and the Industry Trade Body, the RDO (Resorts Development Organisation), in their appeals and statements that the “Courts have misinterpreted the law”.

The Supreme Court Madrid

After much debate between the panel of Judges they unanimously ruled that the case of Mrs Grimsbo v Anfi was in favour of Mrs Grimsbo and that the rulings and sentences of the previous courts were confirmed. Legal history had been made, the very first timeshare case had its first major test.

The court’s ruling would have a profound effect on timeshare and would open the gates for many more claims and cases to be taken to court. In their ruling, the Judges declared that the taking of any payment even by a third party within the Statutory 14 days cooling-off period was illegal. Taking payments within this period they believed had the effect of cancelling out the cooling-off period which was designed to give consumers the chance to read the contract, terms and conditions and also reflect on whether they made the right decision.

In their ruling on the “perpetuity” side of the contract, the Judges ruled that Law 42/98 clearly stated that all contracts be limited to a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 50 years. The Supreme Court upheld the rulings from the lower courts and confirmed the contract was illegal.

Since that momentous decision by the Supreme Court, the floodgates have opened, not just against Anfi but the whole of the timeshare industry that operated in Spain. Today we see the repercussions of just one decision made in a boardroom, to ignore the advice to change the contracts to comply with the law but continue to sell the original contracts in blatant contravention of that law.

Just this week alone there has been a steady stream of news from the High Court of Las Palmas, every appeal they have heard recently have been rejected, dismissed and the original sentence confirmed.

But this is not the only legal battle that Anfi is engaged in, another very serious controversy has been raging in Gran Canaria and finding its way to the courts, it is the debacle that is the Tauro Beach Project.

Not quite what was planned!

Tomorrow we revisit our previous articles on Tauro Beach, as it is a story that is still unfolding and has had and will undoubtedly have some very heavy repercussions, we have already seen one conviction and we believe there will be many more before this story is put to bed.