Browse Tag

Björn Lyng

End the Week: Another Fake Law Firm and Court News

Welcome to the end of another week with Inside Timeshare, even though we are not publishing as often as we would like due to personal reasons, the timeshare world continues to move on. Once again another “FAKE” law firm has appeared, this time they claim to be based in Barcelona. We also bring you the latest news from the courts with more defeats for Anfi in the High Court with awards totalling over 200,000€.

We begin with a warning of the latest “FAKE” law firm to materialise, Servicios Legales Barcelona. Not a name that can be checked easily on the internet, the reason is that many law firms in Spain use the term “Servicios Legales” in their advertising and websites.

The Home Page of their website, only a link to send an email.

https://servicioslegalesbarcelona.com/

When making a search the list is almost endless with the first main entries being “Ver Empresas Servicios Legales en Barcelona” and “Empresas de Servicios Legales en Barcelona”, which both translate as: “See Legal Services Companies in Barcelona” and “Legal Services Companies in Barcelona”. These are lists of Bona Fide law firms, in none of these lists do we find a law firm called  “Servicios Legales Barcelona” That fact alone gives cause for concern.

This particular “fake law firm” is using a similar method to convince you the potential victim to pay up.

Grupo Logra, which we highlighted at the end of October, is using a non-existent Official Brexit Form to convince you to pay, (link below). This lot is using what they call The Value Proceed Document, another “official” form that does not exist.

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-litigious-abogados-family-strike-again/

Along with this “official form” is sent an invoice, supposedly from the court, but when you actually see it you can tell it is just a fake and probably a word template. See PDF below courtesy of the TCA.

The amount is £2,450, the invoice does not actually state what this payment is for, which must be paid in “Sterling”, but we suspect it is for “The Value Proceed Document”. The biggest problem is where and who the money has to be transferred.

Now considering that the “invoice” is from a Spanish Court, why is the bank account one with the Royal Bank of Scotland, with the account holder being one Patrick Gaughan?

A Spanish Court with a Scottish bank account in the name of a private individual who does not even have a Spanish name, come on, if that alone does not set your alarm bells ringing, what will?

Once again, this highlights how very careful and meticulous you must be before engaging with any company, especially in timeshare, that cold calls you with news of winning a court case of which you had no knowledge, or, that a court has awarded you as a “victim of fraud” a significant amount of money.

If you receive a call out of the blue with any news such as this then please do your homework first. If you require any help in determining the authenticity of the call, then please use our contact page and let us know.

Moving on to the High Court of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, another three appeals by Anfi have been once again dismissed and rejected by the High Court Judges.

All three cases were originally heard at the Courts of First Instance of San Bartolomé de Tirajana, where the courts ruled the contracts null and void plus the return of the full purchase price.

The first case was also appealed by the client’s lawyers as the initial ruling did not take into account the payment of double any payments made illegally during the statutory cooling-off period. In this case, the appeal judges ruled a further payment of 15,861€ in respect of illegally paid deposits. This brought the clients total payment to 40,016€ plus legal interest and costs.

The second appeal which was dismissed and the original sentence endorsed, the clients were awarded 72,000€ plus a further 40,155€ for illegally taken deposits. This brings the total award to 112,115€ plus legal interest and costs.

In the third case, the original sentence ordered Anfi to repay the client 65,963€ plus legal interest and costs. This amount included double the amount taken as an illegal deposit, which came to 28,000€.

The three clients who hail from England, Norway and Germany respectively, will now have their cases filed with the Mercantile Court to be added to the growing list of creditors. These cases were prepared and executed by Lawyers of Canarian Legal Alliance, the proverbial pain in Anfi’s backside.

The Anfi Resort, the dream of Bjorn Lyng

It should also be pointed out, the one thing we have noticed is the amounts paid by our Norwegian friends for their “membership” to Anfi, they do seem to have paid and purchased more than others. We suspect this is due to the “loyalty and trust” given to Anfi by the Norwegians because of Bjorn Lyng. A trust that has been well and truly destroyed by the controlling group of Sanatana Cazorla.

If you purchased a timeshare membership in Spain since January 1999, you may have an illegal contract, if you would like confirmation if this is so and what your legal rights are, please use our contact page and inside Timeshare will get back to you.

That is all for this week, have a great weekend and remember beware the cold callers and do your “HOMEWORK” first.

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.

Translations

Danish

https://insidetimeshare-com.translate.goog/anfi-the-story-behind-the-news-part-three/?_x_tr_sl=en&_x_tr_tl=da&_x_tr_hl=en-GB&_x_tr_pto=nui,elem

Dutch

https://insidetimeshare-com.translate.goog/anfi-the-story-behind-the-news-part-three/?_x_tr_sl=en&_x_tr_tl=nl&_x_tr_hl=en-GB&_x_tr_pto=nui,elem

Finnish

https://insidetimeshare-com.translate.goog/anfi-the-story-behind-the-news-part-three/?_x_tr_sl=en&_x_tr_tl=fi&_x_tr_hl=en-GB&_x_tr_pto=nui,elem

German

https://insidetimeshare-com.translate.goog/anfi-the-story-behind-the-news-part-three/?_x_tr_sl=en&_x_tr_tl=de&_x_tr_hl=en-GB&_x_tr_pto=nui,elem

Norwegian

https://insidetimeshare-com.translate.goog/anfi-the-story-behind-the-news-part-three/?_x_tr_sl=en&_x_tr_tl=no&_x_tr_hl=en-GB&_x_tr_pto=nui,elem

Swedish

https://insidetimeshare-com.translate.goog/anfi-the-story-behind-the-news-part-three/?_x_tr_sl=en&_x_tr_tl=sv&_x_tr_hl=en-GB&_x_tr_pto=nui,elem


Anfi: The Story Behind the News Part Two

Yesterday we had a brief look at the beginnings of Anfi, their partnership with TUI, one that was fraught with problems that gave rise to the introduction of the new partners at Anfi, The Cazorla Group. They are still in “control” today, some say many of Anfi’s woes stem from their decisions, which is for you the reader to decide. This partnership has not gone by without some drama or other, usually resulting in some bad press being published and the Anfi “propaganda” machine has to go into action. But more on this later.

When TUI first entered the partnership with Lyng, they held 51% of the shares, what we know as the “Golden Share”, this gives them control over the Board of Directors. TUI immediately took advantage of this and placed its own people into the top management of Anfi.

The culture shock was enormous, Tui attempted to move Anfi directly into their own system purely as subsidiaries. There were also clashes at the boardroom level, between the two different systems and views for Anfi and its future development.

It is also believed that the Board of Directors were informed around 2001 that the contract they were selling for their timeshare system was in fact in breach of the new laws. By all accounts, it was recommended that the contracts be changed to fully comply with the law. This was rejected and as we know it set the seeds for today’s problems for Anfi.

As we mentioned yesterday, Tui also had other reasons for pulling out of Anfi, enter the Cazorla Brothers Santiago Sanatana and Manuel, with the Cazorla Group. They are a product of Spain’s transformation which began in the 1960s.

They began with nothing but eventually built a large group of companies and were very successful in the construction industry. They even owned a couple of hotels.

When Tui decided to sell their 51%, there were several potential buyers, this also included the Anfi management and Bjorn Lyng. It appears that while these negotiations were underway, Grupo Santana Cazorla had gone straight to Tui and had already bought the entire 51%.

The Cazorlas were now in control of the board at Anfi.

View over the Championship Golf Course at Anfi Tauro

The timing and the entry of the Cazorla’s were not all bad, it was around this time the project to build the Championship Golf Course and Resort at Tauro was well in hand. It was not long before the machinery of the Cazorla Group was operating and constructing this magnificent course. It appeared a match made in heaven.

But the proverbial spanner in the works would surface, not immediately but simmering away beneath the public face were to be some revelations that would turn the relationship very sour and public indeed.

The courts were certainly going to be busy in the near future, and that time had come. It appears to have originally started around 2010 when the Norwegian family demanded Cazorla´s resignation. All seemed to be well and no real arguments ensued. Then sometime between 2012 and 2013, it appears that around 8 million euros “disappeared”.

Apparently, the Lyng family noticed the diversion of these funds while a lawsuit was pending between Santana Cazorla and Lopesan at The Court of First Instance No1 of Las Palmas.

The newspaper La Provincia 7/2/2013 reported that Santana Cazorla provided a Promissory note to avoid foreclosure of ANFI by Lopesan who claimed a debt of 14 million euro.

Lopesan claimed the ANFI Group owed 14 million euros for the land in Tauro purchased from the Cardenas family. Lopesan claimed it was owed this as they had bought a Cardenas debt.

(Source: La Provincia 17/07/2013)

As we know, eventually the Lyng family sold their share to IFA/Lopesan, so now the protagonists were partners, and the court battle was not over. Enter round two.

This story was published on these pages in July 2018 and can be followed at the following link.

https://insidetimeshare.com/the-great-anfi-battle-of-the-partners-round-2/

The story of Anfi is a long complicated and rather intriguing one, tomorrow we look at the legal battles over the sale of their timeshare system. The historical first victory at the Supreme Court for one Anfi client, which then set the scene for all other cases to follow.

Join us again tomorrow for more on Anfi: The Story Behind the News.

Translations

Danish

https://insidetimeshare-com.translate.goog/anfi-the-story-behind-the-news-part-two/?_x_tr_sl=en&_x_tr_tl=da&_x_tr_hl=en-GB&_x_tr_pto=nui,elem

Dutch

https://insidetimeshare-com.translate.goog/anfi-the-story-behind-the-news-part-two/?_x_tr_sl=en&_x_tr_tl=nl&_x_tr_hl=en-GB&_x_tr_pto=nui,elem

Finnish

https://insidetimeshare-com.translate.goog/anfi-the-story-behind-the-news-part-two/?_x_tr_sl=en&_x_tr_tl=fi&_x_tr_hl=en-GB&_x_tr_pto=nui,elem

German

https://insidetimeshare-com.translate.goog/anfi-the-story-behind-the-news-part-two/?_x_tr_sl=en&_x_tr_tl=de&_x_tr_hl=en-GB&_x_tr_pto=nui,elem

Norwegian

https://insidetimeshare-com.translate.goog/anfi-the-story-behind-the-news-part-two/?_x_tr_sl=en&_x_tr_tl=no&_x_tr_hl=en-GB&_x_tr_pto=nui,elem

Swedish

https://insidetimeshare-com.translate.goog/anfi-the-story-behind-the-news-part-two/?_x_tr_sl=en&_x_tr_tl=sv&_x_tr_hl=en-GB&_x_tr_pto=nui,elem