Lopesan Sue Apollo Capital Management in UK Courts

Inside Timeshare today reports on the latest development involving IFA Lopesan who as we have reported is the 50% shareholder of Anfi in Gran Canaria, it now appears that Lopesan is in a legal battle with Apollo Capital Management LLC, who are also the owners of Diamond Resorts. The lawsuit involves the sale of two of the top Lopesan hotels on Gran Canaria and the deal seems to have gone sour.

Inside Timeshare broke this news back in April 2020 when it was first announced that they had “teamed up”. In the article below there are several links to various articles on Apollo and Leon Black, who has a bit of a reputation for operating in the “junk bonds” market.

https://insidetimeshare.com/lopesan-and-apollo-team-up-breaking-news-on-a-new-scam/

The case being brought by Lopesan Touristik SA has been filed in the London Courts for the non-payment of the purchase of IFA Buenaventura and IFA Faro, both are high-quality hotels with the Buenaventura in Playa del Inglese being a four-star and the Faro in Meloneras a five-star.

The sale price for the two hotels is reported at being €93M, this is a fraction of what they paid to build their new resort in the Dominican Republic which is reputed to have cost $481M.


IFA Lopesan Hotel Dominican Republic

When the case was filed on 15 September, Lopesan said it entered into a share sale and purchase agreement with Oldavia ITG SLU, which is a company incorporated by Apollo as their entity to hold investments in Spain.

The sale had been agreed in late February 2020, with the funds being given an extended deadline for payment of 30 April. One can only assume that the reason for this extension was the effect of the COVID_19 restrictions which has decimated the tourist industry.

El Economista has also reported in their article (link at the end of this article) that the IFA Hotels brand which is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, has not had a very good year so far. IFA Hotels has a share capital of 128 million euros and have suffered a loss of 71% since the start of January 2020. 

The deal has also been approved by the European Commission as there would not be any significant impact on competition in the tourism industry. This agreement was made on 15 April 2020.

Once the European Commission gave the go-ahead, Lopesan apparently wrote to Oldavia proposing a completion date, with the two sides appearing before a notary to execute the public sale. It turns out that Oldavia did not turn up for the meeting and they continue to refuse to undertake the completion. 

The case is Lopesan Touristik SA v. Apollo European Principal Finance Fund II (Dollar A) LP and others, case number CL-2020-000597, in the Commercial Court of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales.

Huw Davies QC and David Peters of Essex Court Chambers, instructed by Addleshaw Goddard LLP are representing Lopesan Touristik, with the defendant’s Apollo, being represented by Latham and Watkins LLP.

Resources for this article came from Law360 and El Economista, PDF to the original Law360 article and the one in El Economista are below.

At present, there is no indication of how this is going to affect the relationship between Lopesan and Anfi, could it be a case that this money is required to ensure they have enough for a full takeover of Anfi. This is a distinct possibility considering the expenditure on the new hotel in the Dominican Republic and the current closure of the tourist industry. All hotel chains are struggling at present, most are still closed and the ones that are open have a very reduced capacity, this has had a dire effect on their incomes. Obviously with the loss of 71% of IFA‘s share capital so far this year, the future obviously is not looking good at the moment.

This is a case that Inside Timeshare will be keeping an eye on, as and when more news comes to light it will be published here.

El Economista article original Spanish

https://www.eleconomista.es/canarias/noticias/10780524/09/20/Lopesan-denuncia-a-Apollo-por-impago-de-hoteles-en-Canarias.html

English Translation

https://translate.google.es/translate?hl=en-GB&tab=rT&authuser=0&sl=auto&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eleconomista.es%2Fcanarias%2Fnoticias%2F10780524%2F09%2F20%2FLopesan-denuncia-a-Apollo-por-impago-de-hoteles-en-Canarias.html

German Translation

https://translate.google.es/translate?hl=en-GB&tab=rT&authuser=0&sl=auto&tl=de&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eleconomista.es%2Fcanarias%2Fnoticias%2F10780524%2F09%2F20%2FLopesan-denuncia-a-Apollo-por-impago-de-hoteles-en-Canarias.html

Danish Translation

https://translate.google.es/translate?hl=en-GB&tab=rT&authuser=0&sl=auto&tl=da&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eleconomista.es%2Fcanarias%2Fnoticias%2F10780524%2F09%2F20%2FLopesan-denuncia-a-Apollo-por-impago-de-hoteles-en-Canarias.html

Norwegian Translation

https://translate.google.es/translate?hl=en-GB&tab=rT&authuser=0&sl=auto&tl=no&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eleconomista.es%2Fcanarias%2Fnoticias%2F10780524%2F09%2F20%2FLopesan-denuncia-a-Apollo-por-impago-de-hoteles-en-Canarias.html

Swedish Translation

https://translate.google.es/translate?hl=en-GB&tab=rT&authuser=0&sl=auto&tl=sv&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.eleconomista.es%2Fcanarias%2Fnoticias%2F10780524%2F09%2F20%2FLopesan-denuncia-a-Apollo-por-impago-de-hoteles-en-Canarias.html

Translation of Inside Timeshare article

Danish

https://translate.google.es/translate?hl=en&tab=iT&authuser=0&sl=auto&tl=da&u=https%3A%2F%2Finsidetimeshare.com%2Flopesan-sue-apollo-capital-management-in-uk-courts%2F

German

https://translate.google.es/translate?hl=en&tab=iT&authuser=0&sl=auto&tl=de&u=https%3A%2F%2Finsidetimeshare.com%2Flopesan-sue-apollo-capital-management-in-uk-courts%2F

Norwegian

https://translate.google.es/translate?hl=en&tab=iT&authuser=0&sl=auto&tl=no&u=https%3A%2F%2Finsidetimeshare.com%2Flopesan-sue-apollo-capital-management-in-uk-courts%2F

https://translate.google.es/translate?hl=en&tab=iT&authuser=0&sl=auto&tl=sv&u=https%3A%2F%2Finsidetimeshare.com%2Flopesan-sue-apollo-capital-management-in-uk-courts%2F

Latest From The Courts

Yesterday, Inside Timeshare published the latest in the long-running saga of Mrs B and her battle with MacDonald Resorts, with the latest news that MacDonalds “bloodhounds” the law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn are continuing to pursue a course of action through the County Courts. Inside Timeshare will keep you our readers informed of the latest developments as they come in. But I’m sure that you will all feel for Mrs B and her sister at this very trying time. Today however we bring you the latest from the courts, once again the cases involve our old friends at Anfi.

After publication on Friday, the following news came in, yet another appeal lodged by Anfi with the High Court has been rejected.

Once again the High Court Number 5 of Las Palmas has rejected another appeal made by Anfi against the ruling of the Court of First Instance of San Bartolomé de Tirajana.

The original ruling declared the contract null and void, awarding the English client over 45,000€ plus legal interest. As usual with Anfi contracts, the infractions were the inclusion of floating weeks, the duration of the contract was over 50 years and of course, there was the illegal taking of deposits within the statutory cooling-off period.

As we have said before, we just cannot understand the tactics being employed by the legal team representing Anfi. It seems that they are intent on advising Anfi to appeal at every stage, why we just don’t know. It is perfectly clear to anyone with half a brain that it is pointless to appeal on a case you know is going to fail.

All this does is create more costs for Anfi, increased legal fees, increased legal interest and on some occasions, the High Court has even awarded the client an increased award by way of punishment to Anfi.

It would appear to us that the only winners in these tactics are the Anfi client and Anfi’s legal team.

This case was brought on behalf of the client by Canarian Legal Alliance with the Lawyer Eva Gutierrez preparing the case and representing the client with Claims Consultant Jake Kaiser liaising with the client.

Yesterday yet another win for a client of Canarian Legal Alliance against Anfi, this time it was the Court of First Instance Number 3 of SBT.

Again the case revolved around the illegal contracts which again contained floating weeks, duration of more than 50 years and the illegal taking of payments within the statutory cooling-off period.

The contract has been duly declared null and void with the court awarding a whopping 180,224€ plus legal interest. This is going to be one very happy Norwegian client.

The case was prepared and presented by the CLA Lawyer Aroa Farray Martin, with Claims Consultant Michael Gadman assisting the client.

Inside Timeshare suspects that going by the previous tactics by the Anfi Legal Team, we can expect yet another appeal to be lodged with the High Court. Well, we can already guess what that result is going to be, another rejection and yet more expense for Anfi.

Staying on the subject of claims, another website has just come to our attention:

https://timesharerefundcalculator.com/

Timeshare Refund Calculator Logo
Looks like it was designed by a kid!

This website has only just been registered on the 18 September 2020 and it is set to expire on 18 September 2021, so yet another registered for only one year. Again the registrant is hidden by “privacy protection” so there is no indication who is behind or owns the website.

It is also being posted on Facebook.

There is a distinct lack of information on any company registration, but there is a copyright sign and date with the name timeharereuk next to it yet no reference to this name can be found on the internet. The site also gives this email address:

[email protected]

There is also an address:

27 Chiswick Avenue York YO1 0EG United Kingdom

Yet this address does not appear to be correct, the postcode is definitely for York, but when running a search on the full address nothing in York shows on the map or any search results for this address. In fact, the only address with that street name that shows is for York in Canada, a place just outside of Toronto. See the link to Google maps.

https://www.google.com/maps/search/27+Chiswick+Avenue+York,+YO1+0EG+United+Kingdom/@43.6826247,-79.4728897,11.25z

So just on this information, the website does not look genuine or one that can be trusted.

According to the website they have a timeshare refund calculatorwhere you place your details and they will have an answer for you on your “refund” in around 30 seconds! Wow, that is amazingly fast.

So what we can deduce from this is very simple, this is what is known as a landing site, you fill in the form, they tell you that you do have a claim and how much for, then your details are passed or sold on to another entity, more than likely one of the scam operations.

If you have been in contact with this website, Inside Timeshare would be very interested in your comments. This is yet another example of how careful you must be, not just with cold calls but with adverts on the internet and social media. You can contact us by using our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Timeshare Contracts: Held to Ransom Part 3 MacDonald Resorts and Mrs B

Following on from our series Timeshare Contracts: Held to Ransom, we today look at a case that Inside Timeshare has been following and reporting since April 2016. The story of the ongoing battle of two elderly sisters and MacDonald Resorts is one of the most disgusting cases that Inside Timeshare has seen in the past 10 years. MacDonald Resorts have now employed the service of a law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn, based in Scotland to pursue the sisters through the courts for arrears in maintenance for a timeshare that was as far as they are concerned legally transferred to another person. Here we publish the story of the case and the “bullying tactics” being used by MacDonald Resorts and their “legal
rottweilers” Shepherd and Wedderburn.

The sisters, Mrs Price and Mrs Flavell are now both in their 90’s, they are also housebound due to medical issues and not just because of the current pandemic, this is their story.

In February 2000 Mrs Price and her sisters were on holiday on the Costa del Sol, staying at the Dona Lola Club in Calahonda, Mijas Costa, then a Barrett owned resort. They attended a presentation which for timeshare owners is nothing unusual when exchanging.

At this presentation which lasted in excess of 4 hours, they eventually purchased 2 weeks in a 3 bedroom apartment, the cost was £7000. At that time they already owned a timeshare at Oasis Lanz in Lanzarote and they were both around 72 and 65 years old.

Mrs Price stated that the presentation itself was high pressure and they felt that the pressure to purchase was very strong, they then parted with £7000. This in itself was totally illegal, as the new timeshare laws had already been in existence since January 1999, the law states the taking of any money within the statutory cooling-off period is forbidden, even by a third party. Mrs Price and her sister were not informed of this fact by the sales staff, so there is a breach of disclosure as well.

So we have the sales department at Dona Lola blatantly flouting the law which was put into place to protect consumers but it does not end there. In her statement, Mrs Price explains about the other lies and misrepresentations being given by the sale staff, all in contravention of timeshare regulations.

  1. They were told that their purchase was an investment. (It has now become just a liability).
  2. The salesperson told them that the resort would buy back the timeshare for the same price they paid when they no longer wanted it. (This has never materialised).
  3. They were not made aware that the contract was in perpetuity and would last forever. (Contracts are for a maximum duration of 50 years).
  4. Mrs Price and her sister were told that maintenance fees would only increase with the rate of inflation. They were also not informed of the historical or current rate of increase over the past 5 years prior to signing the contract.
  5. They were led to believe that they were purchasing into an exclusive club, that only members and their guests could use. They then discovered that non-members were using the resort at less than the maintenance fees paid by members.
  6. By becoming timeshare owners they were told they would be entitled to various discounts. These were for car rental; travelling; airport transfers and other holiday products. Yet they found out these discounts were also generally available to the public.

Mrs Price has also stated that had they been honestly informed of the true position and not pressured into purchasing there and then, they would never have purchased.

To make matters worse, in the time they have owned this timeshare at Dona Lola, they have never used it due to illness and being unable to travel. Yet they continued to pay the annual maintenance fees as requested and have paid diligently since the year 2000.

After many years, Mrs Price has attempted to sell their timeshare, but to no avail, there were no takers including through MacDonald Resorts who had taken over from Barrett. They also tried to surrender their timeshare even willing to give it back for free with no recompense, the resort refused.

The original timeshare they purchased was for 2 fixed weeks in a specified and fixed apartment, since then thanks to the efforts of Harry Taylor the then CEO of the discredited TATOC, they were forced to transfer their fixed weeks into a point system. This was pushed and endorsed personally by Harry Taylor as “the best move for owners” (MacDonald Resorts was one of the biggest contributors to TATOC, this does make you wonder why Taylor endorsed it). Again this is also in breach of Spanish timeshare law, which has made illegal the use of points or floating week systems. The reason they contain nothing of substance, you own nothing just the ability to use subject to availability.

We now move to 2014, they were contacted by ITRA with an offer to terminate both contracts, obviously, after years of trying to sell or hand back they duly signed up in May of that year. The contract was the termination of the timeshare membership and a possible claim. The cost for this was £5695 to terminate both Dona Lola and Oasis Lanz. This was paid on 26 May 2014.

On 25 February 2015, a UK notary visited their home, (remember they are housebound), they signed a power of attorney and the transfer documents for the timeshare. On 10 April the same year, Mrs Price received notification that she no longer owned or was responsible for the 2 timeshares. According to the paperwork (Signed Notary documents giving details of the new owner), she received both had been sold to the same person for £1 each.

Since then they have had no contact or maintenance demands from Oasis Lanz, but have had constant demands for maintenance from MacDonald Resorts. They also had many calls and letters from a debt collection agency employed by MacDonald’s, Network Credit Services based in Lanarkshire.

After making several enquiries with Network Credit Services, as MacDonalds refuse to discuss the matter even though Mrs Price has given her consent for Inside Timeshare to work on her behalf, it transpires that MacDonald Resorts do not recognise the transfer made by ITRA. Had Mrs Price been aware that MacDonald’s did not recognise ITRA brokered transfers they would never have signed up with them. This is also the fault of MacDonald Resorts for not having a clear and easy relinquishment policy or informing “members” of companies they do not recognise.

Well, we do know the reason why MacDonald Resorts have a policy of allowing “selected” members to relinquish every two years, but this is also very costly and greedy. The requirements are that you must apply and also pay in advance 4 years maintenance fees and also legal fees, plus be fully paid to date with your maintenance. But, that is no guarantee they will end your membership, numbers are limited.

So we are now at the stage today where MacDonald Resorts have employed the service of a “law” firm Shepherd and Wedderburn to harass these two old ladies, now in their 90’s for almost £10,000. In their tactics to force payment this “law” firm is pushing to take the case to court and have the County Court issue a CCJ and enforce payment.

To back this up, along with the letter of intent to take the case to court they also sent 6 court documents of the case they have won on behalf of MacDonald Resorts in the county court. Having read these they are nothing like this case and are totally irrelevant apart from attempting to scare Mrs Price and her sister into paying. Obviously, this is having serious consequences on their mental health.

According to Shepherd and Wedderburn, they claim that the contracts are subject to Scottish law and that the timeshare laws and Spanish courts do not have jurisdiction. In fact, this is incorrect, in 2016 MacDonalds lost a case over this very point in the Spanish courts. The Spanish courts have also made the same ruling against other timeshare companies recently. As far as the Spanish courts are concerned, the purchase and contract was signed in Spain, the payment was made in Spain and the resort itself is in Spain. In the letter sent by Inside Timeshare (published below) to Shepherd and Wedderburn, this is explained, you will also find links to these cases.

Dear Mr MacFarlane,

In your letter dated 15 October, you state that Spanish Law does not have any jurisdiction on the contact with MacDonald Resorts. They along with other timeshare developers have attempted to circumvent Spanish Timeshare law by the use of UK Ltd companies and the clause that UK Law and UK courts have jurisdiction. The High Court of Malaga has ruled on many occasions that timeshare developers cannot choose the jurisdiction of their contracts. The courts have ruled that the contracts were purchased in Spain, the contracts were signed in Spain, the deposits were taken in Spain and the fact is the resort is based in Spain. Therefore the courts have ruled that Spanish law will apply and have jurisdiction on these contracts.

In fact, I have been trying to find the reference to a case held in Spain against MacDonald Resorts in 2016, in this case, the courts ruled that they do have jurisdiction over the contracts and MacDonald Resort lost the case. Unfortunately, without the actual case number, it is difficult to find the court rulings.

Below are just four recent rulings on the matter of jurisdiction. These cases have been brought by the leading law firm in this field Canarian Legal Alliance. Even though these cases show Club la Costa and Diamond Resorts, the ruling is quite clear that Spanish law and courts do have jurisdiction.

Spanish law is quite clear,

  • Contracts should be a duration of a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 50 years. If there is no end date on the contract that means it is in perpetuity.
  • Timeshare is to be sold as fixed weeks and fixed apartments, points system and floating weeks are illegal as they contain nothing of substance just the right of use subject to availability.
  • The taking of any payments within the statutory 14 days cooling off-period is forbidden including by a third party.

The law regarding timeshare in Spain is Law 42/98 with Law 4/12 updating. (pdfs attached English and Spanish).

On point 2 above, this ruling regarding points and floating weeks has been made by the Supreme Court in Madrid, this is Spain’s highest court.

Clearly, had Mrs Price and Mrs Flavell still had their original paperwork, I am sure that Canarian Legal Alliance, M1 Legal or one of the other main law firms in this field would certainly take the case to court and have the contracts declared null and void with the full return of their purchase price plus double any amount taken with the statutory cooling-off period. Plus legal interest and legal fees. It may also be the case that the 90 days ruling would also be invoked by the courts and if so the entire purchase price would be awarded in double.

This is a totally pointless case taking 2 old ladies to court, I honestly think that MacDonald Resorts have outdone themselves in their behaviour in this matter, I also think that as a law firm you also share in the responsibility of acting in a totally disgusting and unprofessional manner in allowing yourselves to be used to harass these old ladies. After all, they continued to pay their annual maintenance fee for around 10 years even though they did not use it due to ill health.

If MacDonald Resorts do continue to pursue this course, Inside Timeshare will have no other recourse than to ensure the story gets out into the press, namely Tony Hetherington and Andrew Penman. I’m sure they would love the story, well, in fact, they already are following it. This will only result in even more bad publicity for a company that has already lost so much credibility that even the Resorts Development Organisation (European timeshare trade body) removed them from membership due to their unethical practices.

As the law firm acting on behalf of MacDonald Resorts I feel it is your duty to at least attempt to get them to see sense, harassing two old ladies in very bad health and in their 90’s is one of the most disgusting things I have ever had to deal with in the 10 years I have been running Inside Timeshare. This email along will be published as an open letter on Inside Timeshare on Monday, this is not going away and your reputation will be sullied and I make no apologies for that.

Regards

Charles Thomas

Inside Timeshare

Links to recent jurisdiction cases.

As you can see and for those who have been following this case for the past 4 years, MacDonald Resorts is nothing more than a bully, we also know that they are in dire financial difficulties and are attempting to sell-off resorts and hotels. Could this be the reason that they are harassing two old ladies?

Inside Timeshare leaves that answer to you the reader, we know what our answer is.

Have you been on the receiving end of disgusting, unprofessional and unethical behaviour from MacDonald Resorts or their “legal bloodhounds” Shepherd and Wedderburn, then please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you? If you would like your story published then please do say so.

Some previous articles on Mrs B, V’s MacDonald Resorts

https://insidetimeshare.com/bbc-scotland-investigates-problems-timeshare-contracts/

https://insidetimeshare.com/more-disgusting-behaviour-from-macdonald-resorts/

https://insidetimeshare.com/start-the-week-macdonald-resorts/

https://insidetimeshare.com/macdonald-hotels-resorts-members-complaints/