Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Woman Waits Two Days For Treatment After Genitals Set On Fire

The woman's partner covered her with alcohol saying he was giving her a massage, but then set her alight. A 39 year-old Alicante woman has suffered ‘deep second degree and third degree’ burns after her partner massaged alcohol into her genitals and then set her on fire. The couple is believed to be homeless and live in an abandoned house in the city and the woman suffered the pain for two days before seeking medical help. She is now waiting for an operation in hospital while her partner has been arrested by the National Police and has been sent to prison on remand.Police sources explained that the couple had been arguing when the man said he forgave the woman and offered to give her a massage. It was then he carried out the brutal abuse.

Spanish authorities have seized 2.5 tonnes of cocaine on a boat in the Atlantic and detained the ship's five Venezuelan crew members

Spanish authorities have seized 2.5 tonnes of cocaine on a boat in the Atlantic and detained the ship's five Venezuelan crew members, the interior ministry said Tuesday, cited by AFP.
Spanish police intercepted the Venezuelan-flagged "Rio Manzanares" just as it was about to deliver the cocaine to another ship operated by a suspected Spanish drug-trafficking gang, the minsitry said in a statement.
It gave no street value for the cocaine which was stored in 80 packages.
The ship is now being escorted to Spain's Canary Islands which are located just off the coast of Morocco.
Spain, with its extensive southern coastline, is Europe's main point of entry for Moroccan cannabis and for cocaine from South America, mostly from Colombia, the world's top producer of the drug.
The country has become the biggest consumer of cocaine in continental Europe, and is one of the world's top users of the drug, according to a report published in January by the United Nation's Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Amy Fitzpatrick who disappeared in Spain on New Year's Day.


The campaign is being led by the family of missing Dublin teenager Amy Fitzpatrick, who disappeared in Spain on New Year's Day.petition is due to be presented to the European Commission in Dublin today as part of a campaign for an EU-wide alert system for missing children.
The 15-year-old's parents will present today's petition of 20,000 signatures along with Sinn Fein MEP Mary Lou McDonald.Ms McDonald is calling on the Taoiseach to raise the idea of an alert system with the French President when he visits Ireland later this month. mother of Amy Fitzpatrick, the 15-year-old Irish girl who went missing from Calahonda, Mijas Costa, when she was coming home from a friend’s house on New Year’s Day says that she is optimistic and that she still hopes to find her daughter. The investigation has revealed no clues to her whereabouts and her family no longer believe that she may have simply run away because she was unhappy. Their hypothesis is that she is being held against her will by an older, English-speaking man, who may have promised to get her a passport and who is telling her what to do. Amy’s mother has said that the young girl would not be able to stay away from her loved-ones for so long without letting them know she was OK. She believes the girl is no longer in Spain, but doesn’t think she is in England or Ireland, either. In any case, the family have not given up hope and ask police to continue searching and doing all they can to find Amy. Amy is said to be thin and pale, 1.65 tall, with black hair and blue eyes and was wearing dark tracksuit bottoms, a t-shirt with the word ‘Diesel’ and a pair of black boots. She was carrying a red bag containing clothes when she was last seen.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Thousands of buyers who have not yet taken ownership of their properties on what has become known as the "Costa del Crash" could lose everything.

Thousands of buyers who have not yet taken ownership of their properties on what has become known as the "Costa del Crash" could lose everything. Lawyers specialising in real estate report a surge in the number of British buyers contacting them for advice after the developers they bought from have gone under. Spain is suffering similar economic jitters and rising prices as the United Kingdom. Others who have paid in full now own homes on resorts that may never be completed. They are seeking to recoup their losses to salvage what remains of their dream move abroad or hope of a perfect holiday home. "I've now got dozens of British clients who all want to know where they stand," said Martin de la Herran of the Spanish law firm Abolex.
He said that the biggest problem lies with those who have paid deposits on properties that may never be built. "Some people have paid 50-60 per cent of the final cost of the home, the company goes into administration and it's a long process to get their money back. Courts are not fast in Spain as we know."
At the resort of Costa Esuri in Ayamonte, on the border of Spain and Portugal, building work has ceased. The developers Martinsa-Fadesa, one of Spain's largest real estate firms, filed for bankruptcy last week following the path of about 60 smaller construction firms that have gone under since the start of the year when the bubble burst on a decade-long construction boom that had fuelled Spain's economy.
The development of 2,184 homes and two golf courses on the bank of the Guadiana river is far from complete. Semi-constructed buildings cover one hillside, cranes loom over a half built hotel, and one golf course is little more than bare earth.
Ben and Kate Byrne, newlyweds from Warrington in Cheshire, have just taken possession of their three-bedroom "townhouse". The couple, who paid 230,000 euros (£180,000) for their property, hoped to use it as a holiday retreat and to rent it out for the rest of the year. "It's an eye sore and not exactly what we thought we were buying into," said Mrs Byrne, 30, a PA at the Environment Agency.
"Unfortunately, its rental potential isn't much at the moment." The house has not been connected to mains water and has been without electricity since Martinsa-Fadesa went into administration last week and stopped running the generator.
The large roof terrace is supposed to have views of the resort's second golf course but instead it overlooks earthworks and a tarmac road that leads nowhere. A commercial centre that would have contained shops and restaurants has not been finished. "This was supposed to be a self-contained community but there is nothing here at the moment except for the club house," said Mrs Bryne of the golf club which houses the resort's only bar and restaurant. The estimated 1,000 people, around 700 of them British, who have already taken possession of Costa Esuri properties, are frustrated at the complete absence of information from Martinsa-Fadesa about what will happen next. They have formed a residents' committee and are taking legal advice. "We've been told nothing by the company," said Mr Byrne, 31, a musician. "We have been left in limbo, not knowing if or when the resort will be finished or who to turn to for maintenance issues." But they feel they are lucky ones. "Hundreds of others have yet to complete on their properties here so they could end up with nothing," he said.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Hundreds of thousands of families are abandoning the Costa del Sol

Hundreds of thousands of families are abandoning the Costa del Sol and other traditional holiday destinations for eastern Europe and north Africa to escape the punitive euro exchange rate. With state schools breaking up, many families will spend this weekend packing their bags to go to Turkey, Croatia, Bulgaria, Tunisia and Egypt rather than Greece, Spain or France. Most eurozone countries have never represented such poor value for British travel makers, with £1 buying just €1.26. A year ago holidaymakers' money went 20 per cent further, with the exchange rate at €1.49. Those countries outside of the eurozone – but only slightly further in terms of flying time – such as in eastern Europe and north Africa have witnessed a surge in bookings, according to travel companies. Lastminute.com, the travel website, said bookings to Turkey are up more than 14 per cent, bookings to Tunisia have shot up by 95 per cent and the number of people taking holidays to Croatia has soared by 150 per cent compared with last year. Meanwhile, bookings to Italy are down eight per cent, Spain is down four per cent, Greece is down eight per cent and France has dipped by two per cent. These figures are backed up by CheapFlights, which specialises in finding air plane tickets for independent travellers.
While bookings to Barcelona have fallen by 16 per cent, tickets being bought to Dalaman, on the southwest coast of Turkey, have increased by 9 per cent.
The Co-Operative Travel Company describes the new trend as a "seismic shift".
Phil Davies, the editor of TravelMole, the travel industry website, said: "Given people are counting the pennies, the strong euro is having a significant impact on where people are going.
"Why go to Spain or France, if it will cost you so much more when you get there?"
A bottle of beer in Turkey will set you back just £1.11 – little more than a third of the price of the same bottle in France, where it costs £2.96, according to the Post Office. Prices in Greece are 22 per cent more expensive than its neighbour Turkey when it comes to a basket of popular goods such as beer, sun cream and insect repellent, due to the strong euro and relatively weak Turkish Lira.
The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) pointed out that while Spain was "having a poor year" official figures show that it remains clearly the number one destination with more than 12 million Britons visiting the country every year. Greece welcomes 2.2 million Britons – a million more than Turkey.
Tunisia, despite its new found popularity, attracted just 270,000 British holidaymakers in 2006, the most recent year for which figures are available from the Office of National Statistics.
However, the popularity of non-eurozone countries is no short-term blip, experts said. ABTA estimates that 1.32 million people will fly out of Britain this weekend from just the main airports.
By its calculations, bookings for Egypt are up 28 per cent and Turkey are up 20 per cent. Bob Atkinson at TravelSupermarket, the price comparison website, said: "There is a clear trend towards visiting more exotic locations, and doing something a bit more interesting or active on holiday.
"After all a lot of people have done Spain to death. Why not visit Tunisia, Egypt or Croatia – once you are there the holiday will be significantly cheaper."
Families that have not booked a holiday in the hope of catching a last minute deal to these cheaper destinations are set to be frustrated, however.
Holiday companies, anticipating the economic slowdown, have cut back capacity . This factor, combined with the fact that very few people have actually cut back on their holidays means that prices for last minute deals are high.
However, Lastminute.com has a seven nights stay a the El Mouradi Gammarth – a five start hotel in Tunisia's Gammarth resort –for just £199 per person.
The cheapest deal for a week long trip to Croatia will set you back £414 per person, according to the travel website.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Martinsa-Fadesa bankrupt 2,531 homes on the Costa del Sol at risk

The filing for bankruptcy protection of the constructor Martinsa-Fadesa, the largest in Spanish history, leaves the construction of 2,531 homes on the Costa del Sol in the air. The company, chaired by Fernando Martín had developments planned in Manilva, faces having to pay compensation to Marbella Town Hall for the irregular construction of 1,386 homes in the town, and also owns land in Antequera for industrial and commercial use in the business park.Manilva I.U. left wing Mayor, Antonia Muñoz, told the Diario Sur newspaper that the development there was likely to be revised in any case, with the land earmarked possibly being reclassified.
Martinsa has already built a dozen developments in Guadalmina Alta in Marbella, amounting to a commercial centre and 1,386 homes in agreements signed during the GIL administration and not recognised by the Junta de Andalucía.84 apartments have also just been completed in the Nueva Calahonda urbanisation in Mijas, where 20% of the properties have been sold and the keys handed over.The collapse of the Martinsa-Fedesa company, which has filed for bankruptcy protection in the face of massive debts, has left an estimated 12,500 families fearing that their new homes will not be completed. The Government though has said that it will ensure that the company meets its obligations in such cases.
The suspension of payments in Martinsa, which now has reported total debts of more than 7 billion €, led to large falls among other builders and also banks on the Spanish stock market yesterday.
Caja Madrid, which lent the company 1 billion € said yesterday that the debt was guaranteed given the assets of the firm, where the only problem was one of liquidity.
Unions calculate that as many as 4,000 jobs are under threat. 234 workers in the firm are the first to lose their employment.
There are also press reports this morning that the Martinsa company may try and back out of the purchase of Fadesa it carried out nearly two years ago. Under the Ley Concursal, if there is a subsequent bankruptcy, the purchase can be rescinded over a following two year period, and in this case there is still two months to go.
Such a scenario would be a serious one for the founder of Fadesa, Manuel Jove, because ff the courts do decide to annul the operation, he would have to pay back the same amount of money.
Many of the Martinsa problems stem from the interest being charged on the 5 billion € loan the company took out to carry out the purchase of Fadesa 22 months ago.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

European interior ministers plans to set up temporary joint police stations in tourist areas and at major sporting events.

European interior ministers discussed Monday plans to set up temporary joint police stations in tourist areas and at major sporting events.French Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, chairing informal talks in the Riveria resort city of Cannes, said that a pilot station would be set up in Lourdes, "when the pope next visits France" in mid-September.Her Italian counterpart, Roberto Maroni, said that Franco-Italian stations would be in place as soon as August in French cities most visited by Italians; Paris, Versailles and Nice.The stations "would allow, when an EU member state is a nation that hosts many tourists from another country, for citizens of that country to have access to police from their home and who speak their language," she told reporters.They could be set up for three months, for example, around tourist seasons or one month for a large sporting event, like the recent Euro 2008 football championship."As you know, we have excellent beer in the Czech Republic," said Czech Interior Minister Ivan Langer."So if you drink quite a lot and, if you're French, I can imagine that it is pleasant to meet a policeman who speaks your language and who will assist you and will take you to your hotel without any problems," he said.His Spanish counterpart Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba also backed the idea, saying it was important for visitors to "have the possibility of using their own language to resolve a problem".
Alliot-Marie said the ministers also discussed exchange training programmes for police, which would involve officers spending time with their neighbours to better share policing techniques and best practices.

£6.3 billion worth of personal goods is being left unattended in Brits' holiday homes across the UK and abroad

More than £6.3 billion worth of personal goods is being left unattended in Brits' holiday homes across the UK and abroad, according to new research from high net worth insurer, Zurich Private Clients.The findings show that British holiday property owners have an average of £15,200 of contents in their homes-away-from-home, while some risk leaving more than £100,000 of personal belongings in their second homes. This can cause problems because second home are often left vacant for months at a time.Indeed infrequent homeowner visits are the biggest reason for homes being left lying empty; two-thirds of those with holiday homes admit to personally visiting their property no more than every three months, and one in 10 stay only once a year. While others encourage family and friends to use their second home, 52 per cent of properties are still left completely unoccupied for a month or more at a time.Zurich Private Clients are also seeing a developing trend for wealthy clients being targeted and burgled whilst in their European holiday homes. This can involve the burglar(s) releasing gas into the air-conditioning system or through an open window, to disable the inhabitants whilst they remove valuables. Those with larger jewellery collections appear to have been the major target to date.
And it seems that many second homeowners are not even protecting themselves with insurance. One in 10 do not have any home contents insurance, with another one in 10 (11 per cent) not knowing if their insurance is adequate.
Worryingly, many are not even taking basic steps to protect their vacant homes. Just half (48 per cent) have window locks on their property and only one in five (22 per cent) have an alarm fitted - while one in 20 (six per cent) admit that they have no security measures in place at all.
But their purchases are not without caution, as a fifth of holiday property owners (22 per cent) admit that they are worried about security for their homes-away-from-home. Besides properties being left unoccupied (56 per cent), other concerns include local crime (24 per cent) and their houses being deliberately targeted by criminals (16 per cent).Despite this apprehension, it seems Britons' passion for property is so strong that they will still invest in a pad that might get used just once or twice a year.In fact, one in five (18 per cent) holiday homeowners are looking to purchase additional properties, with half of those (47 per cent) set to buy in 2008. Currently, France (24 per cent) and Spain (26 per cent) are the most popular destinations for holiday homes, but up and coming places such as Cyprus (four per cent) and Bulgaria (three per cent) are attracting more investors. A quarter (26 per cent) who are looking to purchase in the future are considering buying in the UK, nearly half (45 per cent) on the continent, and an adventurous 26 per cent are looking beyond Europe.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Nueva Andalucía property fraud trial three British citizens to be given prison sentences of 28 years

Malaga Public Prosecutor is calling for three British citizens to be given prison sentences of 28 years for stealing 5.7 million euros from the sale of properties in a housing development project in Nueva Andalucía. The prosecution says that in October 1988, the developers signed a contract with the real estate company in which the three suspects worked, and that these "pocketed 5.7 million euros paid by the buyers of the properties." This forced the developers to file for bankruptcy in 1990.
The prosecution wants the suspects to serve sentences of eight years each, four years more for one of them who is also accused of fraud. The trial is to begin on Tuesday this week and will continue on the 23rd and 24th of the month.

Estepona secret tax offices had large sums of money in bank accounts

The ‘Astapa’ investigation has revealed two separate networks set up to manage the payment of illegal commissions at Estepona Town Hall.
Although connected, each group had its own secret ‘office’ where the deals were made, according to the investigations carried out by the Financial and Tax Crimes Unit (UDEF).
Documents seized in the search of the municipal premises appear to confirm that the corrupt group had been operating since June 2003 when the PSOE came into power with the help of councillors from the Partido de Estepona (PES, former members of GIL).
It appears that the first and most important of these commissions ‘offices’ was controlled by Barrientos himself and managed by the head of the Mayor’s office, José Flores, along with Francisco Zamorano and the former planning coordinator, Pedro López.
The second and more modest ‘branch’ of this network was run, according to the police investigation, by Arturo Cebrián. Business people paying commissions either met with the group in municipal offices or, especially in the case of smaller building firms, spoke on the telephone to someone calling himself ‘Raúl’ who told them in which bank account they had to make the payment.
“No building licence, planning agreement or re-zoning deal”, said the anti-corruption specialists, would have been given the green light if it hadn’t previously passed through this ‘parallel administration’ at Estepona Town Hall. Detectives have had the collaboration of two key figures who were familiar with the workings of these clandestine ‘offices’ at Estepona Town Hall. Apparently these collaborators are people who had been involved but were regretful and went to the police.
By Thursday morning 13 of the 26 suspects arrested on Tuesday had appeared before the judge in charge of the case, Isabel Conejo, and had been released on bail, with sums ranging between 30,000 and 500,000 euros. Charges include bribery or accepting bribes, influence peddling, money laundering, embezzlement and fraud.
Police find 600,000 at estate agency
As well as the tons of paperwork and computers confiscated during the almost 40 searches carried out in relation to the ‘Astapa’
investigation, police have also seized various sums of money. The most significant of these was the 600,000 euros in cash found on the premises of a small real estate agency located in a central street of Estepona.
Police have also discovered large sums of money in bank accounts, some of these abroad, linked to some of the suspects arrested.

12 of the people charged in the Astapa corruption case based in Estepona Town Hall, have calmly walked back into the building

El País reports that 12 of the people charged in the Astapa corruption case based in Estepona Town Hall, have calmly walked back into the building and are back doing their jobs. While the Socialist ex Mayor of the town, Antonio Barrientos, remains in prison on remand, the four councillors who were also arrested are now back at their posts, as are the town planning technicians implicated in the case. This comes despite a warning given by the Town Planning Councillor, Rafael Duarte, that should this happen there was a possible risk of evidence being destroyed in the case. He has written to the Councillor for Hacienda, Francisco Zamorano, himself released on 50,000 € bail in the case, calling on him to act to ensure that no technical reports are manipulated. El País reports that Zamorano has responded that there is no legal reason to limit the access to the Town Hall of those implicated in the case.

ex Mayor of Marbella, Marisol Yagüe home auctioned

First Instance Court number 5 in Marbella has placed for auction the home of the ex Mayor of Marbella, Marisol Yagüe. The sale comes as part of the sentence which condemned her to pay more than 722,000 € for building reform work carried out to the property.According to the auction documents the property is worth more than 1.9 million €, although there is a mortgage in place with the Banco Español de Crédito and has another embargo in place on it.Those who are interested in the property have to go to the courts and supply a bank guarantee for a 30% deposit to take part in the auction which is set for September 23. Bids will be made in closed envelopes and the highest bid will win provided that it is at least 70% of the estimated value.

Head of the BBVA's debt-collection department had been shot twice through the chest

Police are investigating a number of leads after a bank director was found shot dead at a chalet in Bollullos de la Mitación (Sevilla) where he has been staying occasionally since the break-up of his marriage.
Andrés Toro Barea (55) was found by a work colleague after failing to turn up for work on Monday. He had been shot twice through the chest. Detectives believe it to be significant that none of the doors or windows had been forced and that nothing appears to have been stolen. The positioning of two armchairs in the lounge seems to suggest that the victim and his killer sat and talked, providing further evidence that they may have known each other. Neighbours have confirmed that Mr Toro was seen taking out the garbage at around midday last Sunday.
As the head of the BBVA's debt-collection department, Mr Toro had noticed a considerable increase in his workload recently as a consequence of the economic slowdown.

Spanish police have travelled to Switzerland to extradite the care worker suspected of killing Conchita Gadea

Spanish police have travelled to Switzerland to extradite the care worker suspected of killing 80 year old Valencian socialite, Conchita Gadea, whose bound and gagged body was found at her home on the calle Botánico Cavanilles, just opposite the Viveros gardens in Valencia, on February 1st, 2007. The autopsy revealed that Ms Gadea died of a heart attack. Detectives suspected the maid from the start on the grounds that she had not turned up for work either the day before, nor on the day when her employer's body was found, and given that there was no evidence of a break-in. However, after more than a year without any sign of a breakthrough, they were about to archive the case until they were informed just a few days ago that a Georgian woman named María matching the suspect's description, had been arrested in Switzerland.

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