El Diario a Spanish Daily newspaper has today published news that Santiago Santana Cazorla, the 50% shareholder of the Anfi Group is moving to Morocco for “retirement”. Their headline is “Santana Cazorla se refugia en Marruecos” or Santana Cazorla takes refuge in Morocco. (see links at foot of page).
Cazorla himself puts it down to starting a new phase in his life with new business projects, but within the business world it is seen very differently. Some of the explanations are somewhat different, it is widely believed it is down to the endless succession of problems he is facing, not only within his company but also it seems his private life.
It is known that he has had many conflicts with his brother Manuel, and various lawsuits have taken place. One is still in process, this involves a corruption scandal known as the Gondola case, it has been ongoing for around ten years at the court of San Bartolomé de Tirajana. This case has been in the hands of around a dozen judges and several prosecutors.
His involvement with Bjorn Lyng began during the development of Anfi Tauro, Cazorla purchased 50% of the Anfi company as Lyng needed investment for his Project of Anfi Tauro. This has presented many disputes between the partners over the years, the most notable was the lawsuit brought by the Lyngs over the misappropriation of funds. The Lyngs instigated criminal proceedings at The Court of Instruction No 3 of San Bartelomé de Tirajana, after it was discovered that around 9 million euros had been diverted to the Cazorla company Hermanos Cazorla, it was said that these funds were used to pay private debts. This money had to be replaced to avoid criminal proceedings so is basically on hold.
It has also been suggested that Cazorla is selling off his 50% share of Anfi, it is rumoured that Alfredo Morales may be the buyer, this has been sparked off by the relationship between him and the Director General of the Anfi Group José Luis Trujillo. Morales is also a shareholder of Binter Canarias, the Canarian Airline. This will no doubt please the Lyng family to be rid of Cazorla, after all on many occasions they have tried to oust him from the board, which he controls (see link Battle of Partners).
It is the projects at Anfi Tauro and now the Tauro Beach project that has been the cause of many of his headaches. The first notable scandal was the Salmon case, this involved the then head of the Canarian Government José Manuel Soria and involved his trip with Bjorn Lyng, flying by private jet to Austria for a concert and then on to Norway for salmon fishing. Hence the name of the case. Then staying as a guest at Anfi del Mar also courted controversy. At the time the Anfi Tauro Project was about to undergo considerable streamlining, permissions would not be granted unless this happened. Just after this trip and holiday at Anfi the project was given the go ahead by the government in its entirety, with no streamlining. A reporter then made a denuncia against Soria for corruption, the judge in the case due to certain senior Anfi management testimonies found no case to answer. Again this caused major uproar in the press and in local communities.
Now we have a possible corruption scandal about to erupt over the Tauro Beach Project, which Inside Timeshare has been highlighting over the past few weeks (search Tauro Beach). The project involves the creation of a man made beach, boardwalk, shopping center and marina at the Barranco de Tauro, this is being constructed by the Cazorla Construction Company on behalf of the Anfi Group. It involves the importation of 70,000 tonnes of sand from the Sahara, it has also caused many problems for the local residents. It was only at the beginning of August the high tides began overflowing the beach and flooding local homes, had there been a storm at sea coupled with the high tide the situation would have been worse.
The Guardia Civil Nature Protection Unit (SEPRONA) have instigated an investigation which resulted in the dismissal of the head of the Canary Islands Coastal Authority José Maria Hernández Leon. The local residents of Tauro have also made formal complaints to the Guardia Civil over the flooding, which the Guardia are now investigating. This particular episode is still in the early stages and may cost the Anfi Group dearly.
So the question has to be asked, is this “retirement” or is he fleeing in order to escape the consequences of his actions? After all he is no stranger to scandal, accusations of corruption and lawsuits. The Anfi empire is certainly in disarray, with the scandal erupting over Tauro Beach, then there is the matter of all the court cases for mis-selling and illegal contracts. They have already lost millions of euros in the past year alone, also having 17 Supreme Court judgements against them, with hundreds more in the pipeline.
Could it be you the members of Anfi who may just be more victims in all this, what happens if these scandals become full blown court cases? Will you be lumbered with special levies to cover lost money or will you just lose your membership? Only time will tell.
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