Browse Tag

Robert “Bob” Trotta

Timeshare Sales, Barclay Partner Finance & The FCA

For the past couple of years, Inside Timeshare has been following the case of the Financial Conduct Authority granting a validation order for loans provided by Barclays Partner Finance, brokered by timeshare sales agents of Azure Services Ltd. This validation order was granted to BPF after the finance company found out that over 1,400 loan agreements were brokered by Azure Services who were not authorised, competent or diligent enough to broker them.

Many of the clients who signed these agreements for the purchase of timeshares, tended to be either retired or just coming up to retirement. They were lured with the wonderful patter of you are “investing in property”, “it’s not timeshare”.

There was the promise of renting out the purchased weeks, which would give an income, supposedly to cover the maintenance fees and a bit more. Then after 2 years the “investment weeks” would be sold and they would make a profit. This would cover the cost of the loan provided by Barclays Partner Finance.

Well, we all know how that story ends, remember that Azure is part of the Limora Group of companies owned by the late Robert “Bob” Trotta and was also the sister company to Silverpoint in Tenerife.

Company Participations have been likened to this!

Silverpoint, formally Resort Properties, sold the same product, in fact, it was they who originated it. They further developed the product into the Company Participation Scheme, which changed by registering the apartments for sale as “companies”. But the same idea was applied in the sales presentation, it was an investment with rental income and profit after sales when the “company” was transferred to the purchaser. (Sorry but that is the very simple version).

The vast majority of these purchases were made by loan agreements brokered by the sales staff selling the products and provided by Barclays Partner Finance.

When you consider that in the two years which the FCA is looking at for Azure clients this has affected over 1,400, the number of loan agreements financed by BPF must number in the thousands and as far as money is concerned worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Although this is just a guess it is on the figures received by Inside Timeshare on the Azure loans worth around £40 million.

We now move to the latest phase of the case, back in August 2018, Judge Timothy Herrington, ordered the FCA to re-evaluate its decision to validate the order, citing that “consumer detriment” must be taken into consideration.

Judge Timothy Herrington

Over a year later, the FCA confirmed the validation order with a provision that BPF appoints a “competent person” to investigate client detriment.

Now the appeal has been launched to overturn this decision, there is a group that has been formed to coordinate clients who are affected by this decision called Azure Malta Action And Support Group. They are a closed group on Facebook and are gaining in membership, not just with Azure owners, many others affected by the sales practices of the timeshare sales reps and their brokering of these loans.

The group has now published a letter to BPF which Inside Timeshare has placed as a downloadable link below, which demands the right to know what information was given to BPF by the broker regarding the loan application. It also calls for BPF to provide all details of any correspondence between the client and BPF.

It is a legal right under data protection and known as Data Subject Request.

This template letter is not just for Azure clients, any timeshare purchaser who was brokered a finance agreement by the sales reps with BPF or any other finance company can use it. Inside Timeshare urges you to do so, as from all the people that Inside Timeshare has spoken with none have ever provided any full financial details such as “income v expenditure” which are normal procedures especially when considering the sums involved. These reports show if the repayments are affordable and in fact, Shawbrook Bank admitted it had not carried this out several years ago.

The Azure Malta Action And Support Group along with Inside Timeshare are urging all those affected by BPF loan agreements to begin submitting these requests and then filing complaints with the FCA. Hopefully, this may force the FCA to investigate.

Unfortunately, in an article in the Mail on Sunday by Jeff Prestridge, it appears that there are some very serious concerns about the FCA.

According to the start of the article, which we must point out is also our opinion, the Financial Conduct Authority is there to protect consumers, but “is more interested in protecting its own”.

It also goes on to highlight the inherent problems of staff untrained and lacking the knowledge to actually carry out their work. They are not being trained to spot “anything suspicious” in the companies they are supposed to be monitoring.

They lack any training, knowledge or experience in dealing with consumer complaints, and as Inside Timeshare has found in the past, every complaint seems to be dismissed in favour of the industry. Sounds a bit like the Resorts Development Organisation don’t you think!

Although the article is not about timeshare it is a very damning report of the FCA and their apparent inability to actually perform the job they are entrusted with. It certainly highlights the problems being faced by consumers who have had to endure lengthy high-pressure sales presentations, ending up signing agreements for finance on the false promises of sales staff, reliant on the loans to close the sale.

The link to the full article is below along with previous articles on this subject along with the link to Azure Malta Action And Support Group.

If you have purchased a timeshare with a loan arranged by the sales staff and would like more information on what your rights are, then please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you. If we are unable to answer your question we will find out for you.

Link to the Azure Action Group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1152657598482168

PDF & Word versions of the template letter

Jeff Prestridge Article

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/comment/article-9070435/JEFF-PRESTRIDGE-FCA-let-investors.html?fbclid=IwAR3M0bPZrnghdan3Ae5zxaGP17CHfiwYQ5llR0V0ELMTzic-j9XZD_3-72E

Articles on the FCA validation

https://insidetimeshare.com/fca-validate-azure-bpf-loan-agreements/

https://insidetimeshare.com/fca-validate-bpf-azure-loans-update/

https://insidetimeshare.com/barclays-the-fca-and-azure-the-story-continues/

Shawbrook Bank

https://insidetimeshare.com/shawbrook-bank-announce-irregularities-timeshare-loans-similar-activities-usa/

Start the Week: More False Information Being Given

Welcome back to another week with Inside Timeshare, last week we published the “news” being given to previous clients of Mark Rowe, that he had been arrested, tried and convicted in Spain. That 40 Million Euro had been seized by the courts in Malaga from his various enterprises. Well, as we stated in the article it is strange how Inside Timeshare had not received that “news”! But this is not the end of these types of claims from the latest cold callers, over the past week or so Inside Timeshare has been receiving many more wild claims.

We begin with the latest “claim”, according to the caller from yet another new “company” which we have heard about but as yet have found no reference to them, Timeshare Support Group, according to the female caller it is the owner of Beverly Hills Club in Tenerife who has now been arrested, tried and convicted.

As we know the resort, Beverly Hills Club along with Hollywood Mirage and the other resorts were all owned and set up by Robert “Bob” Trotta many years ago. They were all part of his “empire” of companies known as the Limora Group.

The timeshares at the resorts were sold by first Resort Properties and then Silverpoint. The management of the resorts was down to Excel, who ran the resorts and collected the annual maintenance fees. Both companies were part of the Limora Group.

Now according to our caller, the “owner” has now been convicted by a Spanish court as he was a “conman” and the company was a “bogus” one. This does seem strange that all this has suddenly come to light! No other details of the conviction were given, only that owners now had a claim. Somehow I don’t think the Spanish Courts will have any jurisdiction in the “afterlife”!

It would also be possible for our reader to claim through the courts even though they had “relinquished” their timeshare at BHC many years ago and have not paid any maintenance for the same period. But they do have a very strong case.

Fact, there is an investigation going on which may result in criminal charges, but they certainly do not involve the late Robert “Bob” Trotta the original owner. The investigation has been launched due to the peculiarities of the liquidations of certain companies such as Silverpoint

This is following the trail of money which was switched between various accounts as “intercompany” loans. Full details can be found at the following link.

https://insidetimeshare.com/?s=exclusive+breaking+news

Anfi from the Marina

The second strange piece of information has been regarding the Anfi Resort in Gran Canaria. Unfortunately, our readers were not able to get the name of the company correctly so we have not been able to verify if they do exist.

What we can tell you is that the information about Anfi is false, according to our reader’s information, Anfi is now in liquidation!

Anfi itself is not in liquidation, the companies owned by the Cazorla Group who own 50% plus the “Golden Share” of Anfi may be in financial difficulty but as yet they have not filed for liquidation nor have they been liquidated.

Once again, there is an investigation into the Cazorla Group and their dealings with Anfi, this may also lead to criminal charges. The main aspects of this investigation are again the movement of money between accounts in order to avoid paying court awarded costs.

There is also an ongoing investigation into the Tauro Beach Project which as we reported several weeks ago, the concession for the exploitation of the area has been officially withdrawn from Anfi (the Cazorla’s in particular).

It should also be pointed out that the other 50% of Anfi is owned by IFA Lopesan, a very large and pretty well-respected hotel chain. It is also a fact that IFA would love to take full control of Anfi, so with their finances, we have to ask the question, how could Anfi be in liquidation with a 50% partner such as IFA?

The answer to this and also to the question of BHC is very simple, the “cold calling companies” are trying to scare you, the owners, members or even past owners into parting with even more of your hard-earned cash.

There have been no arrests, trials or convictions, Silverpoint is in the process of liquidation as are some of the other companies in the group. Anfi is not in liquidation, the Cazorla’s might be in financial trouble, but that does not appear to affect Anfi considering the IFA connection. Mark Rowe is free, he has not been tried convicted or jailed, well, not yet. The courts in Malaga have not seized 40 Million Euro from his companies, (even if he did have that much).

These are the reasons that you need to do your homework first when being contacted by the many companies appearing with such wonderful stories. Do not get taken in by the huge amounts they say the “courts” are already holding for you. The courts are not holding anything and they certainly do not employ the services of any outside “claims company” to inform you they have.

If you have been contacted by any company with these types of claims, or even with the story that you have a huge sum of money with your name on it, please use our contact page and Inside Timeshare will get back to you.

Azure Services Ltd Liquidation

After yesterday’s surprise news on the announcement of the intention to liquidate Azure Services Ltd, we today publish the notification from Alvarez and Marsal sent by email signed by Rebbeca Rohan of Alvarez and Marsal. There is also a PDF of the letter announcing this and calling all “creditors” to sign up for a conference call on Monday 11 May 2020, signed by Alex Lawson and Joseph Fenech.

Although to many this will have come as a major surprise, it is something Inside Timeshare has been expecting, after all the events leading up to the “liquidation” are very familiar to those at Silverpoint.

A few years ago we reported that Silverpoint had stopped the selling of timeshare and closed their sales offices, with many sales staff being laid off, exactly the same scenario we reported in December 2019. This was then followed by the announcement of Silverpoint being placed into liquidation, the administrators for this were Alex Lawson, his company Alvarez and Marsal. Look familiar?

Lawson and the company are overseeing all the company liquidations of various companies all under the umbrella of Limora Investments Ltd. This company is the parent company of around 200 other companies all involved in timeshare across the globe. It was also owned by the late Robert “Bob” Trotta, with Lawson being appointed by the family to ensure that all the money remains in their custody. You can read the full story in the 6 part article on the link below.

https://insidetimeshare.com/?s=exclusive+breaking+news

The email sent by Alvarez and Marsal announcing the filing for “voluntary” liquidation is below.

Dear Sirs,

Azure Services Limited – In Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (the “Company”)

Please be advised that the shareholders of the Company passed a written resolution on 27 April 2020 to place the Company into Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation. Please be further advised that the directors of the Company have convened a meeting of the Company’s creditors to be held via a telephone conference call on 11 May 2020 at 17:00 Central European Time (CET), for the purposes of considering the appointment of Mr. Richard Galea-Debono as liquidator. To assist creditors’ determination, please find attached Mr. Richard Galea-Debono’s Curriculum Vitae and covering letter confirming his independence.

Please be advised that all creditors who wish to attend the telephone conference must complete the attached proxy form and return it via email to [email protected], it is noted that where a creditor is acting on behalf of either another natural or legal person, they must provide documentation authorising them to do so. It is noted that the proxy form should be returned by no later than 5pm CET on Friday 8 May 2020. Upon receipt of the completed proxy form and authorisation, you will be issued with dial-in details, instruction on how to access the online portal for the purposes of voting at the meeting and a unique ID to enable the same. 

Prior to the meeting, a Statement of Affairs detailing the financial position of the Company will be circulated to all creditors.

Given that this meeting will be held via telephone conference, the directors encourage all creditors to submit questions in writing via email to [email protected] before the meeting so they can be addressed proactively during the meeting. It is noted that creditors will also be able to ask queries at the meeting.

Regards, Rebecca

Rebecca Rohan | Associate

Alvarez & Marsal Cayman Islands Limited

2nd Floor Flagship Building, 70 Harbour Drive | P.O. Box 2507 | Grand Cayman KY1-1104 | Cayman Islands

Email: [email protected]

www.alvarezandmarsal.com

This is followed by the letter from Lawson, Fenech and Azure Services Ltd and is addressed to “All known creditors”, please click on the PDF link below.

One factor which Inside Timeshare would like to bring to your attention is the plight of those local people in Malta who are now going to end up without a job. These are just ordinary workers who gave loyal service and are not responsible for the actions of the company or the sales staff which have brought misery to many consumers. They are the ones who answered the phones dealt with enquiries and did the day to day administrative tasks for the company. At this time especially it will be very hard for them and Inside Timeshare hopes that things work out for them.

Inside Timeshare has also received information from very reliable sources regarding the staff who are being asked to continue as usual, unfortunately, it is what they are being told to do that is very worrying. Inside Timeshare will publish details once they have been completely verified.

Another point which we must also look into are the loans brokered by Azure through Barclays Partner Finance, especially the 1,444 cases where the loan agreements were the subject to a court case at the Royal Courts of Justice. The full story can be found on the links below. We also just wonder how this will affect all those whose loan agreements did not come under this case. We will have to wait and see. 

https://insidetimeshare.com/starting-the-week-2/

https://insidetimeshare.com/start-the-week-13/

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