Following Monday’s article about Anfi Sales and Anfi Resorts hiding assets in an attempt to avoid paying back money awarded to clients in the Spanish courts for the selling of illegal contracts, they are back in the news. This time it is on Spanish national television TVE 1.
They report what we already have published and what was published in El Diario, Inside Timeshare has a recording of the news item to which has been added subtitles it has also been uploaded to Youtube.
The lawyer who is dealing with this case on behalf of Canarian Legal Alliance clients, Eva Gutiérrez is being interviewed outside one of the CLA offices in Arguineguin, with the Anfi Resort in the background. In the interview, Eva explains the reason behind the emptying of bank accounts giving the reporter all the figures. She is also seen working on documents showing the various bank accounts.
It is actually quite staggering the amounts which are in the millions of euros that are being diverted from these accounts to avoid court-ordered repayments. It is no wonder that the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office has been taking a very keen interest in this matter.
During the interview, Eva Gutiérrez also explains that CLA and their clients are urging the courts to appoint an independent administrator to oversee the accounts and the investigation. This blatant attempt we are seeing by the Anfi Group, who are also paying members of the RDO (Resorts Development Organisation) the timeshare industry trade body and governed by their code of conduct and ethics, is in the mind of Inside Timeshare possibly a criminal act.
As yet we have not seen any statement from the RDO regarding this and we very much doubt that they will even sanction them over this. So much for the trade body and their code of conduct and ethics.
This story should place no one in any doubt as to the lengths timeshare companies will go to deceive consumers, it should also remove any doubt as to the authenticity of Canarian Legal Alliance which has over the years been smeared by the timeshare industry as a criminal gang and swindlers!
Inside Timeshare knows who the real swindlers and criminals are and now so do you!
Link to the original article by El Diario with English translation in PDF format.
On Thursday 18 July 2019 in Duisburg Germany the Annual General Meeting of the IFA Group, which is a publicly owned company and listed on the stock exchange was held. IFA Group which also includes since 2016 via IFA Canarias SL and Anfi Invest AS owns a 50% stake in the Anfi Group which they purchased from the Lyng family for 41.3 million Euros in September 2016.
After a capital increase which is intended along with other things to acquire the remaining 50% share of Anfi, the company has a balance sheet totalling 467 million Euros, it is also now 76% owned by Lopesan Touristik SA of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The operating results after adjustment were only €7.4 million before tax due to various special items. With a positive contribution by IFA Canarias SL of €3.8 million including Anfi with € 2.4 million.
Although Anfi is jointly owned with a 50/50 split between IFA and the Cazorla Group, IFA actually has no say in the company as Cazorla has the “Golden Share”. Giving them total control, this is how it looks:
Grupo Santana Cazorla SL has a double vote on all the key decisions, with IFA only having 33% of the voting rights on these decisions. After the acquisition of the Lyng share, it became apparent that IFA is unable to actively participate in any financial and business policy decisions due to company-contractual agreements. Grupo Sanatana Cazorla SL, in fact, excludes IFA any participation in all business decisions, even important business meetings are held and conducted without IFA. But even so, IFA was able to acquire the balance sheets of the Anfi Group.
IFA has basically confirmed that it is being kept more or less in the dark and have no idea what is going on inside Anfi. This does look like Anfi is holding back very important information regarding their position from its own shareholders, this is definitely no way for a company to operate.
During the Annual General Meeting in Duisberg, the most interesting part was the questions and answer sessions. Unfortunately, these are not required to be published unlike the report of the AGM which should be published in around 1 month.
Due to the presence of Anfi insiders (including Inside Timeshares source), the IFA board was totally overwhelmed with questions concerning almost all the problems of Anfi. There was nothing left out and of particular importance were the questions regarding the solvency and the wave of complaints. Our source has limited these to only a few concrete statements:
By 31 December 2018 there were around 1,000 complaints at court;
The complaints would only lead to a deferred resale of withdrawn weeks;
In all cases Anfi claims it looks for agreement out of court;
Anfi has formed a €15.5 million risk reserve for that eventuality, (does this mean that IFA also has to contribute the same amount?);
IFA sees Anfi as solvent with some bearable risk;
A full takeover of Anfi is planned within the next 5 years:
There are also negotiations with the Mogan Community about a hotel in Tauro;
What we also know about this “partnership” is that IFA claims they were not aware of the “Cazorla Golden Share” until after they purchased the 50% from Ragnar Lyng. It was also confirmed by IFA that they have very limited access to the running of the business and information. This poses a very important question, as IFA is a multinational public company spending millions on this purchase, is it conceivable that they did not perform due diligence before committing to the purchase?
It has also transpired that IFA was also unaware of an article published in La Provincia in March 2019 that Anfi was employing delaying tactics with payouts ordered by the courts. Inside Timeshare found out after consulting CLA that there is €57,800,000 worth of claims. This now begs the question if IFA matches the 15.5 million set aside by Anfi bringing the total to €31 million, who will cover the rather large shortfall?
One thing is for sure, IFA is a very valuable company, they have recently spent $481 million on their new resort in the Dominican Republic, The Lopesan Costa Bávaro Resort, Spa & Casino which is a luxury 5-star hotel.
So even with the Cazorla’s transferring funds between accounts to delay court-ordered payouts, IFA is in a very good position to cover these costs. For claimants this means only one thing, claim payouts will be 100% guaranteed.
It must also be pointed out that the number and value of claims set for the court is only the tip of the iceberg, this may yet rise significantly, especially with Anfi attempting to force members into new contracts. We have already seen two attempts with very little response from the membership.
There are many other questions which need answering but the one that comes up though enquiries to Inside Timeshare most often is if IFA does take full control of Anfi, where does this leave the members, will IFA continue with the “timeshare model”?
The answer that question still eludes everyone.
The one thing that is certain with the IFA revelations and this is great news for clients of CLA with cases in court is that they will now get paid when the court orders the return of their money.
Welcome to this week’s Letter from America, today we publish another “Nightmare on Timeshare Street”, this is the experience of the Cameron family and their dealing with Westgate. But as usual we bring you some news from Europe.
We start with the headlines in La Provincia published on 18 October 2018
Grupo Anfi denuncia a Santiago Santana Cazorla por “apropiarse” de un barco
La compañía acusa al empresario de sustraer la embarcación y llevársela a Marruecos
Grupo Anfi denounces Santiago Santana Cazorla for “appropriating” a ship
The company accuses the businessman of stealing the boat and taking it to Morocco
It centers around Santiago Santana Cazorla“appropriating” a boat which the Anfi Group claims belongs to the company, of which Cazorla owns 50%, as the boat was included in the register of assets of the company until around 1 year ago, when Cazorla decided to transfer it to his name.
The Court of Instruction No1 of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, heard in testimony from Cazorla (17 October 2018), that he purchased the boat in 2012, he transferred the ownership of the vessel to Anfi Group“as part of the payment to forgive a debt”, however, he changed his mind and about the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, began procedures to transfer the vessel back to his name.
In his testimony Cazorla assured the court that the vessel was his, something Anfi Group does not agree with, no agreement was reached.
One thing is for sure, we are never short of a story with Anfi!
Seeing other Westgate owners talk about their experiences has prompted me to do the same, in the hope that more people will come forward to put pressure on timeshare companies and regulators to take a closer look at timeshare sales practices we feel are unfair and deceptive.
It is obvious that Westgate, and I believe timeshare in general, has a recipe for success, designed to keep their money rolling in and my money rolling out.
I think I have figured out the secret ingredients!
Step 1: Over promise features and benefits. Add copious amounts of salt with one or two grains of truth.
Step 2: Make them your BFF. Then tenderize customer by forcefully kneading them with one sales pitch after another until they are flattened and easy to manipulate.
Step 3: Quickly gloss over the contract with a nice coating of sugar. Make sure to cover up the actual details of what the customer is buying so that they remain in the dark until much too late for them to cancel their contract. They call this the rescission period and it is quite easy for timeshare sales agents to dodge.
Step 4: Serve on a dirty plate with a fork. I call this plate foreclosure when the buyer finds out you bought something you can’t sell. What product is out there you can’t get rid of?
Step 3: When the customer realizes they have been served a steaming pile of something or other, pretend to be very concerned and run back to the kitchen and hide for months and months. The customer can listen to commercials about why you are happy to have invested in their timeshare while they wait on hold.
Step 5: Finally, when the customer is starting to cause a scene, have the monosyllabic thugs, Greenspoon Marder, eject them from the premises.
The Tennessee AG will be sitting at the next table, pretending like nothing happened while he tucks into his gourmet meal, although I did research and found out the TN AG helped Festiva victims recover $3.5 million.
I understand that the consumer needs to take charge here. If there are not enough complaints, as must be the case with Westgate, nothing will happen. I also learned the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau investigated Westgate for two years but dropped the investigation shortly after the presidential election.
That’s Westgate owner David Siegel, King of Versailles next to candidate Trump.
Here’s what happened to us
Salesmen, Jonathan Smith, and Mario Pineda (Manager) sold us a timeshare in July 2016 and convinced us that we were making a good, sound financial decision.
They said we were buying something that would:
Financially benefit us,
Allow us to make money renting our weeks and that they would help with this free of charge,
They said we would never have to pay the HOA fees because the rentals would pay for that,
They said we would hold a deed to the property and would own this property (Bldg 2041, Villa 302H and 302I). They left out the part that if you want to sell it nobody wants it,
It would be a great tax write off,
The equity would keep increasing.
Given all these benefits we signed the contract in good faith, thinking that we would get everything Westgate told us we would get and we would see some return on our “investment” which turned out to be anything but an investment. The reality is that we have not made a penny on this investment. None of the reasons for which we bought this timeshare exist.
While they may define this as real estate, what kind of real estate is worth nothing, except in disaster stricken zones? It is certainly not a tax write-off, it does not gain in value and it would therefore be stupid to pass it on to our family. We would only be passing on a liability.
On top of all this, our experiences at Westgate locations have been awful. We went to a Westgate property to enjoy time together as a family and wind down. Instead we were pressured to buy more and had our precious vacation time stolen.
The first time we went to Gatlinburg we booked a 3-day trip. We were invited to a presentation. They said it would last 90 minutes but we were held hostage for seven hours! This totally ruined our vacation, plus the loss of what little time we had was the cause of much stress.
All this stress came right back when we had our first full week stay and they tried to do and say anything to get us to upgrade to a more expensive unit and more weeks. They held us again for four hours. The stress of this again completely ruined my vacation.
It was after this last stay I started to have heart pain. When I went to the doctor he said it was stress related. This is when it really hit me that I can’t keep going through the stress of Westgate’s high pressure to buy more and more Westgate. My wife and I work very hard. We don’t get to take many vacations together, so do not enjoy spending our vacation in a bad mood after it feels like we underwent CIA manipulation techniques. Plus, we can’t afford to go through this again.
What Westgate is serving up is no good. We suggest you dine elsewhere.
The Queen of Versailles wants to be Florida’s Governor?
Thank you to the Camerons for sharing their timeshare story. It is our hope that timeshare companies will read some of these accounts and think about ways to improve customer relations. We encourage members to submit articles, good or bad experiences, but the satisfied customer is less likely to reach out. They are having too much fun vacationing with a product they bought explained properly, compared to the family who feels they were duped.
These self-help websites and Facebooks are resources and provide a way for members to reach out to help other members.
We seek to provide members a way to proactively address membership concerns; to advocate for timeshare reform; to obtain greater disclosure from the company; to advocate for a viable secondary market; and to educate prospective buyers.
So that is another week over and the start of the weekend, join us again next week and remember to do your homework before engaging with any company. If you are not sure then use our contact page and we will point you in the right direction.
Over the past few weeks, Inside Timeshare has received many enquiries regarding Anfiand who is telling the truth regarding the court cases and Supreme Court rulings. Many of these questions have been coming from Anfi members themselves, having received emails and letters from Anfi who deny anything is going on. So the question is what is the truth?
According to a letter sent by the CEO of Anfi Groupin June, which we published in the following article:
Anfi deny any wrongdoing, they continue to state they are not losing court cases, that the Supreme Court stated that Anfi were acting in good faith when selling perpetuity contracts. This in itself is a little strange as the Supreme Court has verified that the law 42/98 which states that contracts must be of a maximum 50 years, is correct. In other words why would this court say that perpetuity contracts are illegal, then on the other hand that Anfi acted in good faith?
According to the CEO, Anfi members are asking for their help in getting out of court cases instigated by various law firms, again this does not ring true, after all having used legal services in the past, you employ the law firm, if you wish to withdraw that is your right. You don’t need any help, especially from Anfi. Is this yet another deception?
In another section of his letter he goes on to say the Supreme Court agrees that any member who has had their contract declared null & void should in principle pay for past holidays taken. Inside Timeshare has not seen any evidence of this, in fact this point has been going on for some time, with even the RDO publishing their support for this. Again it is another ploy by the timeshare industry to save itself!
We won’t dwell on the CEO’s letter as you can read the previous article.
Another couple contacted Inside Timeshare after receiving an email about their own membership. It would seem this particular couple are not happy with their purchase, and wish to terminate the agreement. It starts by stating that Anfi does not consider their contract to be illegal until a court deems it so.
Again this flies in the face of previous statements, that their contracts are legal and it is the courts that have got it wrong, the truth is, the courts have found the contracts have infringed the timeshare law, is this another untruth?
In this email Anfi state once again that they are not losing, that cases which have been lost at the Court of First Instanceare going to appeal. Yes they may be going to appeal, but only to prolong the process. After all, now that the Supreme Court has made 57 rulings against various timeshare companies, of which around 32 have been made against Anfi, all the courts must abide by them regardless. If the law has been broken then that is that!
On the point of one part of the law, the taking of deposits within the 14 day cooling off period, in this particular email, Anfi deny taking any deposit for the sale of the timeshare. They say they have a signed reservation form for so many nights accommodation at their Hotel Gran Anfi. Hang on a minute, is it not a timeshare resort?
Regardless of that point, according to them there is no mention on the documentation that it forms part of the payment for membership. Bit of a moot point there, after all the timeshare law states that no payment shall be taken on the day the contract is signed, even by a third party. So one could interpret that as the payment taken at the time of signing, even for accommodation, is payment to a third party! We’ll leave that one for the judges to decide.
The tone of the email is not very pleasant, the writer states “Our company is strongly focused on the future, and the goal is to have only loyal members”, well not very conducive to customer relations, would you not agree?
Well, let’s get down to some facts, Inside Timeshare during its investigations over the months has come up with the following figures. These may just be a little out of date as they were compiled some months ago and many more court cases have taken place since.
Remember, it was in March 2015, that the first Supreme Court ruling was made against Anfi, this was the case of the Norwegian lady Mrs Tove Grimsbo. Or is this another fact that Anfi are not acknowledging?
It is estimated that since January 2015 the courts have awarded over 3,435,974.56€ to former Anfi clients.
Only last week one client was awarded their purchase price back, 27,895€ by the Court of First Instance Number 2, in Maspalomas. That same court also ordered that double the deposit was to be paid back which amounted to 28,611€. Plus the legal fees, so this client receives back more than they originally paid. The infringement was again for a contract in perpetuity, longer than 50 years, so again another untruth told by Anfi that their contracts are legal!
Also we must ask about the recent Anfi vote, which asked members to vote for new contracts which comply with the law, it goes against what the CEO and the writer of the email state, that their contracts are not illegal.
Follow the links below for previous articles on this vote.
In the article on the last link there are figures that were supplied to Inside Timeshare that show payouts, cases won, closed and ready for execution. We leave it to you the reader to decide what the truth is, we already know.
Yes, it is that time again, the end of another month and what a month it has been. Canarian Legal Alliance has now had 36 Supreme Courtrulings in favour of their clients, the latest was on 28 November.
In the latest ruling, again against Anfi, the British clients will receive £22,940 plus legal interest and legal fees, with their contract being declared null and void. Once again the Supreme Court reiterated their previous judgements that floating weeks are illegal.
This latest ruling comes just 4 days after the Supreme Court ruled against Palm Oasis /Tasolan, again the ruling was about floating weeks. In this case the Norwegian clients have been awarded 8,810€ plus legal interest and legal fees. Their contract was also declared null and void.
It does make you wonder why these companies are taking these cases, which have already been ruled over at the lower courts, all the way to the Supreme Court?
We know that Anfi, the RDO and others, still believe that the courts have got it wrong, but after 36 rulings in favour of clients, one has think are they just trying to delay?
It has to be pointed out that these rulings cannot be changed, the Supreme Court has unanimously found in favour of the consumer on each case, with lower courts now using them in their deliberations.
We have even seen this month the High Court Number 4 in Malaga using these judgements in the case against Leisure Group Ltd. In this case the CLA client has been awarded 12,390€ plus legal interest and legal fees. Their contract has also been declared null and void.
Canarian Legal Alliance has now spread its wings from the Canary Islands and over to the mainland. They have had success in the past at the courts in Fuengirola and also in Barcelona, this latest case in Malaga just goes to prove that any contract sold that is illegal will be ruled against no matter where. CLA are certainly becoming a force to be reckoned with.
We have again this month published articles on the changing face of the TCA, it must also be pointed out that several readers have also noticed that articles published here, are several days later appearing on the TCA website. The content has been juggled around a little, but it can be clearly seen from the style of writing where they did originate.
Inside Timeshare is to be honest, quite flattered that they are using our articles, the only problem is one of acknowledgement. When using articles written or published by someone else, it is normal practise to state where this came from citing the source and usually providing a link.
In another piece regarding the TCA, we published the article on incorrect information, this concerned their post on cold calling. In this they stated that “Cold calling in the UK is illegal as it is considered a breach of privacy”. As we showed in the article, cold calling is not illegal, but there are some very important a rules regarding how it is done. These were published along with a link to the Information Commissioner’swebsite for the full regulations. (see link below)
We also highlighted a problem regarding owners data, in this article and the follow up, we looked at the battle going on between the resorts / developers and owners, as to who controls / owns this data.
One of our readers, Edward, wrote part of the first article, here he showed how his resorts community of owners have been trying to use the members database to contact and inform owners of changes at the club. Even the Spanish Data Protection Agency believe that it belongs to the owners and the resorts / developers are only users and custodians of this information.
We all know that lists of members are sold on to others, as we stated in both articles, even Diamond have acknowledged employees and ex-employees have taken data and sold it on. We even explained that for many on the sales staff, keeping records of clients is like an insurance policy, to be used when they no longer have a job. Remember data is a commodity, it can and will be sold, it has yet to be proven if any of this data has been misused by owners committees, that I very much doubt.
Irene also published many articles this month, one was just after the presidential election, this was titled “Dialogue: The Way Forward”.
In this piece she explained how the divisiveness of the election equates to that in the world of timeshare, owners Vs resorts / developers. In the article we address the problem and the only solution, “Dialogue”. The need to work together to ensure that owners and the industry benefit, it is a long shot but somewhere along the line there must be a coming together, if not there will no longer be an industry.
In the article “Illness: Is not a Reason to Surrender your Timeshare” myself and Irene highlighted a very huge problem, that of the elderly and sick. This is a problem for owners on both sides of the great lake, we have seen this with the ongoing story of Mrs B and MacDonald Resorts. Owners unable to use or travel due to illness yet still paying maintenance and being unable to surrender their membership. In some cases they can, but the financial penalty is quite often a huge one, for instance, MacDonald Resorts want 4 years worth of maintenance, but this is not guaranteed, it is if they “allow” you out. (see link below regarding MacDonalds)
Tauro Beach also came into the news again this week, with the announcement that the Canarian Government was revoking the concession awarded to Anfi Group for the Tauro Beach Project. This follows the prosecution of the former head of the Coastal Authority, the investigation into the Mayor of Mogan over the permissions and licenses given for the project. This will obviously cost Anfi a fortune, not just what they have already spent on it, but the cost of repairing the damage caused. The question is now who will foot the bill, the company or the members with increased maintenance?
So, that is November, it now remains to be seen what happens in December. Although with the Christmas and new year period, it will be a rather quiet month. Inside Timeshare would like to thank Irene and all the other contributors to the articles published this month. These contributions help to make Inside Timeshare more balanced, they also provide a great source of information which might just get missed.
If you require any information on any article published, or you have something we have missed, Inside Timeshare would love to hear from you. If you have a story you would like to share, contact us and we will work with you to publish it.
The newspaper La Provincia on 27 November 2016 has published news on the ongoing problems with the Tauro Beach Project, it has been announced that the Canary Island Government is to revoke the concessions awarded to Anfi for the development of this area.
It transpires that Anfi are being stripped of the concession and being accused of starting the work without providing the correct paperwork. They have also been accused of encroaching on land that was not part of the original project and not completing the project correctly. It appears that they have only laid sand on a fraction of the beach, 1300 sq meters and not the 3811 sq meters as agreed. Environmentalist are also up in arms as the 70,000tonnes of sand imported from the Sahara has not been treated. This according to them means it could contain “invasive species”, which could have a detrimental effect on the local environment.
The current permits allow Anfi to develop the beach area, building hotels, commercial center and beach services for profit, with the concession running for 50 years. Because of the infractions uncovered, the licences and permits will be revoked, with initial proceedings being heard at the local court of San Bartolome de Tirajana.
This is certainly a huge blow for the Anfi Group and the new 50% owners Lopesan. The financial consequences of this could be huge, it may mean that Anfi will have to spend to put things right, but it also means they have lost the huge investments already made in the project.
It now remains to be seen what will happen next, will there be more charges as the investigation continues?
How is this all going to affect Anfi as a whole, will it mean an increase in maintenance to help cover the losses incurred in the project?
As the investigation goes on, Inside Timeshare will bring you the news as it comes out.
Click on the PDF links for the La Provincia article:
If you have any questions about this story, contact Inside Timeshare and we will be pleased to answer them. If you have any information about this or any other subject Inside Timeshare would like to hear from you.
The end of another month is upon us, one story to hit the news this month once again involved the Anfi Group, it was announced the Lyng family had sold their 50% share of Anfi to the construction and hotel group Lopesan IFA. It was reported that Lopesan paid 41.3 million euros, which does seem to be a bit of a bargain. There again, with the woes that Anfi are going through, is it surprising? There is the investigation into irregularities in licences and permissions granted for the Tauro Beach project, which is being conducted by SEPRONA, a branch of the Guardia Civil. Then we have all the Supreme Court rulings which are costing Anfi a fortune in claims. These stories are not over yet and we wait for more to be revealed.
September has also been very much an American month, with articles by Irene Parker being published. These articles show what is happening across the great lake (or the pond as our American cousins call it), starting with the Letter from America: News From Across the Great Lake. In this article Irene sent an open letter to Stephen J Cloobeck of Diamond, it was her response to his letter to members on the Apollo acquisition.
This was then followed by the article on resale and transfer, it included an article from Tom Tubbs, who is on the advisory board of the National Timeshare Owners Association. It highlighted a subject which timeshare owners in Europe have also experienced, that of rogue resale and transfer companies. It also explained how this operates in the US, with a new company called Timeshare Transfer Registry, they keep a check on who and what companies the timeshares are being transferred to. But as he says the “scam” still goes on.
In More News From Across the Pond, we published a piece highlighting the Fox News programme The Property Man: Bob Massi. He is a Las Vegas attorney with a reputation as a determined advocate of consumer rights. This was followed by an article with an update to the real estate regulations in the US.
Then there was the visit of Irene Parker and her Husband, Inside Timeshare had the pleasure of playing host to their visit. For Irene it was her first time on the island and was very much a fact finding mission for her future articles. We spent much time comparing notes and learning from each other the problems that many owners have on both side of the Atlantic.
During her visit, Irene met the lawyers and staff of Canarian Legal Alliance, which she has followed from the US. While meeting with one of the lawyers Cristina Batista, she was able to get the history of the Supreme Court Rulings and how it is affecting timeshare in Spain. From there she then met with the staff at the admin office who look after the clients. As she said to Inside Timeshare it was an eye opener, stating that on her return she would share what she had learnt with other colleagues battling to help owners.
It was was not all work, and we all enjoyed several evenings with good food and company. Her last day was a trip to El Faro de Maspalomas, for a little shopping and to see for herself the Lopesan hotels. This ended with a superb lunch at a beach side restaurant. We will be publishing her articles as they appear.
Other articles published this month included a warning of a text message to Diamond owners. This informed them of the Supreme Court rulings, but it is not clear where they originate from, the telephone number is an untraceable “burnt” phone, linked to a facebook page with no details.
There was also more news from the Supreme Court with an incredible sum being awarded to one UK client. In this judgement the court stated that fractional ownership did indeed come under the timeshare regulations, it awarded £235,542 against Puerto CalmaHoliday Club Finland. More announcements followed with a ruling against Palm OasisTasolan SL and a ruling against Silverpoint in Tenerife.
After an enquiry about the RDO, we published the article The RDO: Does it Protect Consumers? This article laid out what the RDO is and who it actually serves, it is a subject that has been covered in previous articles. But it is always good to republish, especially in the light of recent events.
So that is September, we wait with baited breath for the events to unfold during October. With all that is going on it should be an interesting month.
If you require any information about any article published, contact Inside Timeshare and we will find you the answer. Have a good October.
Yesterday Inside Timeshare published the news that Ragnar Lyng had sold his 50% share of Anfi to Lopesan. Gran Canaria Info, an online news and information site also published the story, they also asked one question, why so cheap?
Thinking about this, 41 million euros is a rather low price for the Anfi resort, even if it is only a 50% share. One has to ask is it because Mr Lyng just wanted out due to all the problems he and Anfi are having?
You do have to wonder at this, after all it is one of the largest timeshare concerns in Spain, and definitely the largest in the Canaries. It consists of 1000 apartments, over 30,000 members, a marina, 2 golf courses and a huge commercial center. Then there are the plans for the new beach and marina at Tauro, which will also include a new shopping center and new hotels which will have around 5000 to 7000 beds.
We know the Cazorla side have the controlling share, with Santana Cazorla having control of the board of directors. Somehow I cannot see Lopesan putting up with that situation, there must be something else in the pipeline. We also know from other news reports that Santana Cazorla has “retired” to Morocco, all this under the cloud of the investigations into Tauro Beach, with a senior official being dismissed along with others who must now be fearful of the same as well as being under threat of prosecution.
It is also known there was no environmental study carried out on the project, which means we do not know what impact the 70,000 tonnes of untreated Saharan sand would have. The fact this beach project is also only 300 meters from a special area of conservation, should have been a major point of having full and detailed environmental reports. All this has come out because of the investigation instigated by the Guardia Civil into the project, for the Guardia to be involved it must be extremely serious.
Then we have the residents of Tauro Beach, it was only in August that many of the homes were flooded. These floods are a direct result of the man made beach, the natural protection from high tides was removed, thereby allowing the sea to just wash over the beach and cause mayhem. These residents have also made official complaints to the Guardia Civil, adding even more pressure on the beleaguered Anfi Group.
This is a story that will not be going away for some time, again the question must be asked, how is all this going to affect those 30,000 members of Anfi? After all even without the developments of the past month, Anfi have been severely battered in the courts, with 17 Supreme Court rulings made against them on behalf of clients represented by Canarian Legal Alliance. So we now wait for the next chapter in this story.
If you have any questions or concerns about this or any other timeshare matter, contact Inside Timeshare and we will try to answer them. If we don´t know we will find out for you.
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 GroupJosé 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.
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.
If you have any questions or comments about this or any timeshare matter, contact Inside Timeshare and we will try to answer them for you.
Over the past week Inside Timeshare has been highlighting the Anfi Group project at Tauro Beach, the fact that an investigation is underway into serious flaws in the licences and permissions granted to Anfi. Also the fact that homes have been subject to flooding because the natural defences of the original beach have been removed, changing the dynamics of the tides and currents, and the question of who is going to pay.
On top of all this, Canarian Legal Alliance has just announced the 18th Supreme Court ruling, this will be the 17th against Anfi. Once again the court has ruled in favour of the client awarding them over 45,000€ plus interest and legal fees.
The court has reiterated their previous ruling that contracts in perpetuity (over 50 years) are illegal, that floating weeks and the taking of deposits also makes the contracts null & void. Yet we still see Anfi claiming their contracts are legal, they can not seem to acknowledge the fact the Supreme Court has ruled, they still believe the court has got it wrong.
Back in March 2016 Anfi issued a statement to their members, also backed up by the RDO, in it they reaffirm their belief the Supreme Court has got it wrong. They also go on to say that when a member takes legal action and wins, they will also have to pay for the holidays they have already taken. (I thought they had already paid with the maintenance fees). (see pdf) Anfi state they will use the Spanish Civil Code in order to enforce payment. (see post http://insidetimeshare.com/rdo-trying-scare-anfi-timeshare-owners/) Again it appears Anfi are trying to scare people from taking legal action, when the clients have the legal right to have their contracts cancelled and be reimbursed for being sold illegally. They have also resorted to emailing clients using out of date accusations from Mindtimeshare. This is obviously an act of desperation, they know they are in trouble not just because of the 17 Supreme Court rulings against them, but also with the recent developments over their Tauro Beach project being investigated.
So far nothing has been heard from Anfi regarding the problems at Tauro Beach, no statements have been seen in the press or anything online. Considering they are the ones building the beach and therefore responsible for these events, not even a whisper or any contact with those affected has been seen or heard. Surely any company would have made some kind of statement, even just to say they would look into it.
For those who still believe that their timeshares are worth something, think again. This was sent to Inside Timeshare and apparently comes from Anfi del Mar Friends, it is an advert for a timeshare up for sale and it reads:
“Hi folks, if anyone out there is interested in buying a week, I have week ** anfi puerto, one bed with saturday changeover in room ***. Would take £1000 ovno. Also on sale in house at Anfi. It’s a cheap buy for anyone interested”
Well apparently over 5200 have seen it and it still hasn´t gone! I wonder why? Could it be the reputation timeshare has or is it just Anfi? Or is it the ongoing costs, after all the maintenance fees are not cheap, and we did notice there was no mention in the add of the cost. This added to the facts published in previous articles regarding the beach and the court rulings does make it look as though the future for Anfi is likely to be rather bleak!
If you have any questions regarding anything in this or any previous article contact Inside Timeshare, we will try to answer them and if we do not know the answer we will find out. If you have anything you would like to share, Inside Timeshare would love to hear from you. Need information on any company you may be thinking of using but don´t know where to look we may be able to help.