This week Inside Timeshare has been following the story of Anfi. It began with the development of the resort, the brief partnership with Tui and then the virtual takeover of the Cazorla Group. We say takeover as when they purchased their 50% share from Tui, they also took hold of the “Golden Share”, which gave them control over the board of directors. Today we revisit a story that came to light in 2016, this is the Tauro Beach Project, one that has been frought with problems and some very serious irregularities.
It all began when the Guardia Civil Nature Protection Service, SEPRONA, challenged the authorisations that were granted to Anfi to occupy over 3Km of the coast. The Guardia Civil had been running an investigation into the Anfi Group, the promoters of the project since work began to transform the beach in February of 2016.
In July 2016, La Provincia published an article about the investigation and how it had now expanded. They reported that the Department of Sustainability of the Coasts and the Sea, which comes under the Ministry of Environment, had dismissed the head of the Canary Islands Coastal Authority, José María Hernández Leon. It appears that his dismissal is based on serious irregularities found in the permissions granted to the Anfi Group for the project. This project is for the creation of a new beach, boardwalk and other facilities at the mouth of the Barranco de Tauro.
As these investigations moved along, it uncovered some very disturbing information, it was announced that the Mayor of Mogan, Onalia Bueno, is also under investigation. This was for granting a licence that had apparently expired. But this was only the tip of what was being uncovered. It was looking like unlawful acts had been committed in the execution of the regeneration works at Tauro Beach.
The plans were to convert the rock and pebble beach into a manmade sandy beach, build a marina and inland, the construction of several hotels, a shopping center and other amenities. With Anfi holding the licence to “exploit” the area for 50 years. This concession has now been legally removed.
It soon came to light that the licences and permissions to start the work and transform the beach were not issued until around 6 months after the fact. Just this alone made the work illegal.
Then there was the controversy about the sand that was to be used for the beach, it was apparently imported from Western Sahara, it is also believed that no environmental precautions were carried out on the imported sand, this is to protect the new area from invasive species.
It also came to light that this sand was imported illegally, there are international and EU rules which govern the use of any resources from this region. The UN and the EU have sanctions on this matter and the sand most definitely comes into the category. One of the reasons is that since the Spanish withdrawal from Western Sahara, Morocco has laid claim to the region and has occupied it against international condemnation.
This story was also published in the UK press, this link will take you to the Inside Timeshare article and a link to The Guardian where it was published.
The first conviction of this investigation was that of the Head of the Coastal Authority, José María Hernández Leon, it is believed that more charges and convictions may follow.
During this whole episode, Inside Timeshare also published what was happening to the people who live at Tauro Beach and the small bar and restaurant situated there. They watched with horror as their beach and area were basically destroyed.
With the transformation of the beach into a flat sandy area, the natural protection of the land behind the beach and subsequently the houses were removed. At the first of the high tides and only a mild swell from a small storm, the sea breached the beach washing much of it away. It did not end there, the local population were flooded out of their homes, this had never happened before, even during some of the most violent storms.
This is just one of the incidents that took place, much of the story can be found on our pages, there are a lot of them, the following link shows just a few, there are also links within the articles to various publications and previous stories on Inside Timeshare.
The investigations are still ongoing, Anfi and the Cazorla Group are also involved and may face possible criminal charges and prosecution, along with members of Mogan Council and especially the Mayor. The discrepancies in the documentation are being viewed very severely as fraudulent, the whole affair is going much deeper and is more complicated than first envisaged.
The debacle that is the Tauro Beach Project, has not done the reputations of many individuals much good, it has also severely tarnished the reputation of Anfi. The cutting of corners, the “favours” made to get things moving and done, it is all smelling of bribery and corruption and it will all come out in the end. When it does, rest assured it will appear on these pages.
Tomorrow we end our series on Anfi: The Story Behind the News, with Part Four. This covers the latest “Boardroom” battle that has now spilled over to the courts and it is a story that shows the great animosity between the partners.