Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Body of San Pedro de Alcántara businessman, Fernando Moreno, was found bound and gagged close to the Istán road.

Body of San Pedro de Alcántara businessman, Fernando Moreno, was found bound and gagged close to the Istán road .Nine who were close to the 76 year old Marbella businessman, Fernando Moreno Espada, have been brought in for questioning by the police as they investigate his death during an express kidnapping attempt last week.
Searches have been carried out in several homes in Urbanisation La Campana, San Pedro Marbella, Torremolinos and Málaga, and more arrests have not been ruled out.
It’s understood that of the nine detained yesterday now only two remain in custody. Some of those detained are reported to be foreigners, but their nationality has not been revealed. Reporting restrictions remain in force in the case.Diario Sur reports this morning that one of held is an ex employee of the victim.

largest bust of a euro counterfeiting ring ever. Euros were tracked out of Italy to Spain

Italian police conducted an early- morning dragnet across the country to round up more than 100 people in what they described as the largest bust of a euro counterfeiting ring ever. About 700 of Italy’s Carabinieri police together with Rome’s anti-counterfeiting squad carried out 96 arrests in nine regions of the country. A total of 109 arrest warrants were issued. Four laboratories for printing fake euro bills and minting phony coins were discovered, and 1.2 million euros ($1.6 million) was sequestered during the investigation, police said. “This is the biggest operation ever conducted against euro counterfeiters,” Colonel Carlo Pieroni, who participated in this morning’s arrests, said in a telephone interview from Reggio Calabria. “This was a cartel set up to make and distribute fake money nationally and internationally.” The bills were tracked out of Italy to Spain, Germany and Lithuania, according to a statement. The investigation began in 2005 as a probe into mafia drug trafficking, Pieroni said, and the main counterfeiting activities were carried out in areas where the ‘Ndrangheta and Camorra mafias operate. The European Commission Anti-Fraud Office, or Olaf, and the European Central Bank took part in the investigation.
“Today’s operation again shows how multifaceted the Calabrian mafia is,” Giuseppe Pignatone, the chief mafia prosecutor in Reggio Calabria, told reporters today, according to Ansa news agency. The ‘Ndrangheta “takes advantage of every opportunity for illegal income.”
The operation was dubbed “Giotto” after the Italian master painter who ushered in the Renaissance. Some of the fake cash made it to Latin America, Pieroni said, which is an indication that some of the funny money may have been distributed as part of drug transactions. Phony bills worth 20, 50 and 100 euros were discovered, as were false 1- and 2-euro coins. While the quality of the forgeries was “average,” according to Martin Mund, a counterfeit expert at the ECB who aided in the probe, the ring may have produced as much as half of all the counterfeits withdrawn from circulation in 2007 and 2008.
“Anyone familiar with the security features of the banknotes could have realized that they were false without the use of any special equipment,” Mund said in written responses to questions by Bloomberg. The ECB has no plans to change any of the euro’s security features, he said. “The number of counterfeits in circulation is still very limited,” Mund said. Today’s operation follows a similar raid yesterday by finance police near Naples that netted 3.7 million euros worth of fake Algerian dinars, a half-ton of high-quality paper and a sophisticated printing press.

Banco Santander, Spain’s largest bank, has offered to pay 1.38 billion euros, or $1.8 billion, to reimburse private banking clients

Banco Santander, Spain’s largest bank, has offered to pay 1.38 billion euros, or $1.8 billion, to reimburse private banking clients who had invested with the disgraced financier Bernard L. Madoff, a settlement that could prompt other financial institutions to follow suit. The offer, which does not apply to institutional investors, was announced Tuesday as investors brought a class-action suit against the Spanish bank in Federal District Court in Miami. They accused the bank of not adequately scrutinizing the Madoff investments, according to Bloomberg. The offer is an indication of Santander’s desire to preserve its image as a conservative institution that prides itself on having avoided the troubles plaguing other big banks because it shunned exotic financial instruments. Santander said in December that it had an exposure of $3 billion to Mr. Madoff’s firm, the largest of any commercial bank. The money was invested through a Geneva-based hedge fund unit, Optimal Investment Services. Mr. Madoff was arrested Dec. 11 and accused of running his investment business as a Ponzi scheme that paid generous returns to investors using money fed into it by new victims. Santander said in a statement Tuesday that the bank had acted “at all times with the due diligence” and “in accordance with all applicable laws and sound banking practices.” The bank’s offer to reimburse clients was “based exclusively on business considerations, namely the group’s interest in maintaining its business relationships with those clients,” the statement said.
Santander said clients would receive a quantity of preferred shares in the bank equal to their initial investment. They would receive a coupon of 2 percent a year on the shares. A spokesman for the bank, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with the bank’s rules, said the shares could be traded. The bank would have the option to buy the shares back after 10 years. The bank also announced Tuesday that Optimal would close seven of its funds because clients had been withdrawing money from them.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Richard Keogh was shot seven times after leaving a meeting with a South American drug dealer


Richard Keogh was shot seven times after leaving a meeting in a bar with a South American drug dealer.Keogh’s killer stood over him discharging shots into his body and head as he lay on the pavement outside a hotel and casino complex on the Costa del Sol.The drug-dealing contact he had just met, who is believed to be from Venezuela, was interviewed by the police about Keogh’s last movements. He was then detained on foot of an outstanding warrant for drugs charges.Police are hopeful an examination of the Honda Civic getaway car will yield fingerprint evidence that would have been destroyed if efforts by the gunman to set the car on fire had been successful.It is understood that a pair of gloves and a spent magazine from a handgun were also found in the car.The vehicle was seized by police less than a half a mile from the spot where Keogh was murdered late on Saturday night outside the Torrequebrada hotel and casino at Benalmadena Costa.The Honda Civic pulled up alongside Keogh – a father of four and a known gangland figure – and his wife as they were walking along a pavement just after 11pm. Keogh tried to escape after being shot at twice. However, he fell injured and the killer fired a number of rounds into his body from close range.A postmortem examination identified two shots to his back, two to his head and one each to his thigh, leg and arm. At least 12 bullet casings were found at the scene.Gardaí believe Keogh had been a significant player in the drugs trade in Ireland for at least six years. Detectives suspect that over the past year he was sourcing large quantities of cocaine from international gangs in Spain for export to Ireland.It is unclear if Keogh was shot as part of a dispute with international dealers based on the Costa del Sol, or if he was targeted by an Irish drugs gang with whom he was in dispute before he left Ireland with his wife and children just over a year ago.Gardaí are assisting the Spanish investigating team to build a profile of Keogh’s movements in recent times and his associates both here and in Spain.The dead man was originally from Carnlough Road, Cabra, but had settled in the Belfry estate in Duleek, Co Meath. He was shot and wounded outside his house in November 2007 and decided to move from Ireland to Spain.
Gardaí believe the attempted murder in 2007 was carried out by a drugs gang based in Louth and Meath, supported by a Tallaght gang. The suspected gunman is from Belfast and is a dissident republican.Keogh had an elaborate system of CCTV cameras concealed in the eaves of his house, with viewing screens hidden in the attic. The gun attack was clearly captured by the cameras.However, when the suspected gunman was put in an identification parade by gardaí, Keogh refused to pick him out. Gardaí believe he had secret talks with his attackers and thought the drug dispute had been resolved. Keogh had a number of properties here and a part share in a car garage in Dublin’s north inner city. Those assets are being investigated by the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Alan Dickson lived in Malaga where he took on a job and cared for his ailing mother before coming to the attention of Spanish police.

Alan Dickson fled following his Christmas holiday release from Castle Huntly open prison at Longforgan in 2006.He lived in Malaga where he took on a job and cared for his ailing mother before coming to the attention of Spanish police.Dickson had been jailed for 10 years in March 2002 after being “shopped” by one of his drug couriers.
The 38-year-old, formerly of Falkland, sent the couriers back to Scotland laden with cannabis resin-laden suitcases from his flat in Torremolinos, Spain.He was in business for over nine months before he and four accomplices were trapped in an undercover operation led by Fife Police and the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency.
It was estimated that the drugs involved in the enterprise could have had a street value of over £1 million.Three of his assistants were jailed for a total of 13 years at the High Court in Edinburgh, while a fourth walked free in return for giving evidence.He appeared from custody at Perth Sheriff Court yesterday, where depute fiscal Alan Kempton told the court that Dickson had been faced with at least 22 months’ further imprisonment when he took the decision to flee.He explained that Dickson had been serving the latter part of his sentence at Castle Huntly, having been transferred from HMP Perth on June 20, 2006.“On December 23, 2006, the accused was released from Castle Huntly on temporary licence,” Mr Kempton said.“He was to return no later that 4pm on December 28, but by 7pm on the 28th he has still not returned and a warrant was issued for his arrest.“The accused was subsequently arrested in Spain, having been living in Malaga, on October 13, 2008.”Solicitor Michelle Renton told the court that her client had surrendered himself to the police in Spain after he became aware that they were looking for him.She said, “He was given his release from Castle Huntly for the Christmas holidays.“He decided to abscond because his mother—who along with his father lived in Malaga in Spain—had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.“He absconded to care for her and he did so until she died on May 8, 2008.“While in Spain, together with attending to his mother’s needs, he rented a property and was working.“He was a law-abiding citizen in Spain, for what that is worth.”Miss Renton said her client’s extradition warrant had later come to the attention of the Spanish authorities.She said, “After handing himself in, he co-operated fully with the extradition procedure.”The accused spent two months in a Spanish cell before being extradited back to Scotland and Perth Prison.Dickson, described as a prisoner at Perth, admitted absconding from HMP Castle Huntly, Longforgan, on December 28, 2006 having been sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment at Edinburgh High Court on March 5, 2002 in relation to drugs offences.
Sheriff William Gilchrist said, “To abscond from open prison is a serious offence, whatever the motivation.”The sheriff sentenced Dickson to an additional 12 months’ imprisonment.He will also have to serve out the remaining 22 months of his original sentence.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Banco Santander SA,Spanish authorities want to know what officials at Banco Santander knew about Madoff’s alleged fraud

Banco Santander SA, one of the largest banks in Spain, has been caught up in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme scandal. And now, Spanish authorities want to know what officials at Banco Santander knew about Madoff’s alleged fraud, and when they knew it.

Numerous individuals, institutions and hedge funds lost money because of Madoff’s alleged scheme. But according to the Associated Press, losses for Banco Santander’s clients were among th highest of any bank linked to Madoff’s invesment advisory business. Those clients were invested in the Optimal Strategic US Equity Fund, which is managed by a unit of Banco Santander. That fund has lost more than $3.1 billion as a result of investing with Madoff, the Associated Press said.
Shortly after the U.S. FBI arrested Madoff for securities fraud last December, Spain’s anticorruption prosecutor began investigating the relationship between Banco Santander and the accused swindler. The prosecutor wants to know whether managers of the Optimal Strategic US Equity Fund knew of problems at Madoff’s operations when they marketed the vehicle to investors. A key question is why Santander Chairman Emilio Botín sent one of his chief lieutenants to see Madoff in New York just weeks before the alleged Ponzi scheme collapsed.
They are also looking at the timing of the resignation of Manuel Echeverría, who The Wall Street Journal said presided over the Optimal fund while it built its relationship with Madoff. He left the bank on June 30, 2008 after 19 years there. Five colleagues also quit at the same time.Others have questioned the methods Banco Santander used to recruit investors for the Optimal fund, and some lawyers representing Santander clients claim the bank made a practice of steering unqualified investors to Optimal.According to a report on Bloomberg.com, Santander branch managers channeled customers with money from property sales or inheritances to private banking salespeople, who convinced them to sink their money into the Optimal Strategic US Equity Fund. These investors reportedly included a retired school teacher who put $388,000 - half her savings - in the fund. In another case, a street vendor was convinced to invest more than $400,000 in lottery winnings in the fund. That client had to return to street vending after Santander lost his winnings.So far, Banco Santander has maintained that because the Optimal funds losses were the result of fraud, it will not be compensating its clients.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

EEC report on Land Grab law and real estate abuse in Valencia

European Parliament is threatening to freeze funding to Spain unless real estate abuses are brought to an end.Attack on the Spanish judicial system contained in the report from Danish M.P. Margarete Auken, was not welcomed by the Spanish.
Spanish Euro MP’s from both the Socialists PSOE, and the Partido Popular, say they will add amendments to the draft of the report on the land grab and other alleged real estate abuse carried out in Spain, which was presented yesterday by the Danish parliamentarian, Margarete Auken, to the Petitions Commission of the European Parliament. They have until the 27th of this month to present their amendments. The proposed modifications will be voted on February 11.

The Green Danish MP suggests a moratorium on all town planning in the Valencia region unless that water supplies for the new properties are guaranteed, and wants a reform of the town planning legislation in the region. She says that European funding could be withdrawn from Spain if the abuse does not end, and criticises the Spanish Constitutional Court for not protecting the rights of purchasers by not firmly applying article 33 of the Spanish Constitution which refers to private property.That attack on the Spanish Constitution brought the response from the PP Euro deputy, José Manuel García Margallo, who said the text was barbaric.
Socialist Euro deputy, Maruja Sornosa, said the text could be improved and announced amendments against the part of the text which attacked the Spanish Judicial System. She also wanted to see the moratorium removed, with a grand new town planning agreement put in its place and also wanted the threat to remove European funding removed from the text.The draft was approved however by the Green Euro MP, David Hammerstein.The presentation of the draft in Brussels has caused great effect in the Valencia region where most of the town planning abuses are based, although both Andalucía and Murcia are included. President of the Generalitat regional government in Valencia, Francisco Camps, called on the Socialists to apologise for their behaviour and allegations made, he said, to damage town planning in the Valencia region, blaming them for job losses in the construction sector. Government delegate, Ricardo Peralta, responded to that by saying the problems in Valencia came from the economic crisis and not from the reports from Brussels.The Auken report is the third EU report about building in Spain and comes after reports in 2005 and 2007, all highly critical of building law in the country. The Valencia region is at the centre of them all.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Juan Antonio Roca,fourth section of the Penal Hall of the National Court is to make public the sentence



The fourth section of the Penal Hall of the National Court is to make public the sentence against the ex Real Estate Assessor of the Marbella Town Hall, Juan Antonio Roca, and the five others accused in the Saqueo money laundering corruption case, on Friday.The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor has asked for a ten year prison sentence for Roca, for allegedly diverting public funds away from the Marbella Town Hall to private companies over the years 1991 to 1995.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Spain was last week one of three eurozone countries warned over its public finances

"I wish we could leave the eurozone. That way we could devalue."
Spain was last week one of three eurozone countries warned over its public finances in the space of three days, underlining the parlous state of the single currency economies. Credit rating agency Standard & Poor's said Spain could face a downgrade after entering recession in the fourth quarter, citing concerns about its high private sector debt as well as its deteriorating public finances. Greece and Ireland were also put on notice by S&P - with a downgrade driving up their borrowing costs. S&P said Spain had to cut public spending to match falling government revenues.
million newly built properties now remain unsold. Prices have plummeted and construction has ground to a halt
."This is different to anything we have experienced before," finance minister Pedro Solbes admitted in El País newspaper, and warned of a nightmare 2009.

The economy will shrink by 1.6%. The budget deficit will come close to 6%. "We have used up the margin we had in public spending," he said. Solbes's predictions reveal the depth of suffering to come. By the end of this year, 16% will be unemployed.
By that measure Spain has far-and-away the most troubled economy in Europe. It shed a million jobs last year, a feat not managed by any other European country since the 1930s, according to El Mundo newspaper. Another million jobs are expected to go this year. Spain already has as many unemployed workers as Germany, a country with almost double its population. Spain's savings banks predict unemployment of 18%. "That is surely impossible. It is the stuff of social revolution," commented one senior trade unionist."The real problems will come in the second half of this year," said Victor Renes of the charity Caritas - when the first wave of jobless will be reduced to minimal aid from one of western Europe's less generous welfare systems. Caritas has already seen demand for help leap 75% in 2008.Immigration has increased eightfold in a decade. It is so new that Spaniards have never competed for jobs with foreigners in a recession before. "I am worried that we will see racism and xenophobia," said Renes.With almost a third of the workforce on short-term contracts, sending workers to the dole queue has been relatively easy. Getting them back into work may not be so simple. An emergency €11bn (£10bn) public works programme will keep some in work this year. Javier Morillas of San Pablo-CEU university warns: "These are merely temporary measures. They have no long-term impact." Spain trails Europe's other leading economies in areas such as productivity, education and research and those who left school early for well-paid jobs on building sites are poorly prepared.
Spain may start to pull itself out of recession by the end of the year but meaningful growth will be harder to achieve, said José Carlos Diez of Intermoney.
Tight regulation means Spain's banking sector escaped the credit crunch without government rescues. Some, like Banco Santander, have gone shopping - snatching up Sovereign in the US and adding Alliance & Leicester and parts of Bradford and Bingley to the business.The building bust, however, will still hurt them. The banks' problem is not mortgages, but money owed by builders and developers. This accounts for 40% of loans and a majority of bad ones. Socialist prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is blaming Spain's problems on external factors such as the credit crunch. "This is a national emergency," said shadow finance minister Cristóbal Montoro. "Trying to solve our problems with public spending is a huge error."
Developer has shut his sales shop, halted building and handed 2,000 homes over to the banks. In his hardware store Barrios proposed a solution. "I wish we could leave the eurozone," he said. "That way we could devalue."

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Woman was shot in the leg by a man who tried to steal her car on Avenida Juan Carlos I in Estepona.

Woman was shot in the leg by a man who tried to steal her car on Avenida Juan Carlos I in Estepona. On Tuesday a Mercamálaga employee was jumped and mugged of more than one thousand euros takings which he was on his way to bankTwo thieves armed with a gun and a knife jumped a man as he was about to leave for work in Vélez-Málaga on Friday morning, and stole a case he was carrying which contained 60,000 euros worth of jewellery. The victim, a jewellery sales representative, was overpowered by his assailants but managed to scream for help. At that moment, the victim's cousin, who happened to be passing by, came to his aid but was stabbed in the hand by one of the thieves. He was later taken to the Vélez-Málaga hospital with a serious injury.Witnesses say that the two thieves fled the scene in a getaway car, in which two other men were waiting, and drove off towards Malaga city. The victim told the police that the suspects had a foreign accent.

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Sunday, 11 January 2009

Estepona Town Hall's outstanding debt with Telefónica has forced the company to cut off the council's telephones.

Estepona Town Hall's outstanding debt with Telefónica has forced the company to cut off the council's telephones. The telephone company decided to bar outgoing calls from the Town Hall as a result of the local authority's outstanding debt of more than 200,000 euros. A few days ago a payment of 50,000 euros was made to the company to ensure that the telephones at the Local Police, fire station and Mayor's office weren't cut off too.

500 British residents demonstrated in Almeria

British residents of Almería, demonstrated on Friday in Almeria and marched to the offices of the Regional Government Housing Delegate in the city.The march was organized by AULAN, Abusos Urbanisticos Almanzora, No, and came a year to the day that the house belonging to the British couple, Len and Helen Prior was knocked down. Luis Caparrós, the Housing and Town Planning delegate met representatives from the march, including the Priors. He gave an undertaking to find a solution for the couple and this week will see a technical meeting with their lawyers. The Priors are demanding compensation for the loss of their home, they have spent the last year living in a caravan on the site.Many of the demonstrators arrived in Almería city on buses fleeted from the areas of Los Gallardos, Albox, Vera and Cantoria. As well as compensation for the Priors the British are demanding stable water and power supplies, and a final plan to regularize the homes. They consider the current census being carried out by the Junta, reported to be 60% complete over the estimated 5,000 illegal homes in the area, a step in the right direction, but want to know what will happen next. On that point the Housing and Town Planning Delegate made a call for calm.AULAN and Ciudadanos Europeos spokesman, Lenox Napier, said that the British wanted to a buy a home and continue to live in it, without worrying if someone is coming along to knock it down, expropriate it, or to say it is illegal. He said that there were many forms of corruption, fraud and swindle in the province.

Juan Antonio Roca,has a placed reserved for him in Marbella Town Hall


ex Municipal Real Estate Assessor, Juan Antonio Roca, has a job to go to when he is released from prison. He has a placed reserved for him in Marbella Town Hall and they say that legally they are unable to sack him.Roca was promised a place in a local municipal body when the department he worked in, the Gerencia de Obras, was dissolved in 2006. At that time his wage was 9,000 € a month, and even though he was suspended from employment by the commission which ran the Town Hall when the scandal broke, according to El País he still conserves his place.The Partido Popular controlled Marbella Town Hall spokesman, Felix Romero, are waiting to see whether Roca decides to take up the post or not when he comes out of prison and say they will act as a consequence of his decision then. The Socialist opposition in the town considers however that Roca can be sacked now as a disciplinary matter.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Sean Woodhall, links to a suspected £100million property scam Ocean View Properties(courtesy ofhttp://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/82370/Vanished)


Sean Woodhall, had links to a suspected £100million property scam and was due to settle his divorce within days. Born Sean Lovelock in London in 1965, he grew up in Cambridgeshire but made his business career in the Birmingham area. At 30 he changed his name to his mother’s surname, Woodhall, after a row with his father, Ron.In 1999 he married Victoria McLeod, now 39, and two years later was given an 18-month suspended sentence for his part in a fraud with franchising 

venture Advan.Following that conviction, Woodhall took his heavily pregnant wife to the Costa del Sol where he tapped into Spain’s booming property market.For the next few years he worked closely with Staffordshire-based Ocean View Properties, a company run by his friend Colin Thomas.It sold “off-plan” luxury Spanish apartments to British investors, including star sportsmen such as Aston 

Villa’s Gareth Barry, ex-Leicester City captain Matt Elliott and former 

England cricketer Paul Nixon.The company, which owes more than £100million, is being investigated by the police and the Insolvency Service. According to former business associates, charming Woodhall, who was a serial adulterer, mingled with ruthless Serbian gangsters on the “Costa del Crime” and became one of the area’s most well-known faces.A Spanish lifestyle magazine even featured him as one of the region’s model businessmen. He also became friends with Prince Albert of Monaco and dealt with controversial Spanish developer Ricardo Miranda, who was named by the Sunday Express last month as being a central figure in the alleged Ocean View scam.As funds from Ocean View customers went missing, Miranda and Woodhall, who lived in the same Marbella complex as Sir Mark Thatcher, eyed 

Caribbean business opportunities.The pair pinpointed coastline in the Dominican Republic and planned a £3billion golf resort called Punta Perla.Miranda’s company Paraiso Tropical bought the land while Ocean View and Woodhall’s new organisation, Punta Perla Caribbean Ltd, became UK sales agents. Newcastle United’s Alan Smith is thought to be an investor there.However, Miranda, who performed a ground-breaking ceremony at Punta Perla with Prince Albert and Dominican Republic president Leonel Fernandez on Tuesday, succeeded in squeezing Woodhall out of his project.The Briton then turned his attention to potential luxury resorts in Egypt and Brazil. He replicated Ocean View’s business model by controlling sales, mortgage broking, conveyancing and cash flow through a “one-stop shop” operation, Worldwide Destinations.While in Brazil he engaged businessman Ricky Every to find development sites on the north-east coast which he could market as “eco resorts”.He hoped that would appeal to environmentally aware Prince Albert. Woodhall had met the prince several times after being introduced by Costa del Sol mortgage broker Mark Tout, a former British 

Olympic bobsleigh number one, discredited after admitting taking steroids in 1996.Tout, 47, coached Prince Albert during the royal’s own lengthy Olympic bobsleigh career.Woodhall apparently hoped the donation would trigger an investment appraisal by the foundation’s committee. Among the other potential investors were Kempson, from Cambridgeshire, and Hodges, from Somerset.Together with Woodhall and Every they chartered a plane from Brazilian company Aero Star to fly over the 

potential Barra Nova Pearl eco-resort on May 2 last year.It took off from Salvador in north-east Brazil and the 40-minute flight was due to arrive in the coastal town of Ilheus at 5.43pm local time.Brazilian investigators are still trying to piece together what happened next but the plane apparently lost contact with air traffic controllers eight miles out to sea, nine minutes before its scheduled landing. The pilots had just announced they were switching from flying by instruments to visual observation.Ellen Duarte, business manager for charter company Aero Star, said: “It was flying perfectly. The pilot said he was making a visual approach to the airport, and that was the last we heard.” Eyewitness reports then vary. One said the plane was flying unusually low, while another described it as “a bit out of control” and that it “swung out 

towards the sea and then back towards the forest”.“Not long after, it disappeared,” said student Caliana Mesquita.
Rescue teams searched 400km of sea and rainforest for five days but the search was called off after small pieces of wreckage washed up 60 miles north of Ilheus. No bodies were recovered.

Many of Woodhall’s former associates spoken to by the Sunday Express asked not to be named for fear of 

reprisals. One who knew him from his time in Sutton Coldfield and Solihull described him as “mercenary” and “certainly capable” of faking his death.Others said he had threatened 
with guns people who owed him money on the Costa del Sol.Property internet forums are awash with people also claiming that Woodhall owed them cash and that he is alive. Conspiracy theories range from the outlandish to the more feasible.Some have suggested that all six crew and passengers bailed out before the crash, while others believe that Woodhall, a man so terrified of flying he had to take Valium, never even boarded the Cessna. Aero Star in Brazil has declined to say whether there is proof that the group boarded the plane. However, Woodhall’s former wife Victoria, who returned to Walsall with their two young children in 2006 when she discovered he had been having affairs, is disgusted at the conspiracy theories.Even though she was left without a penny in maintenance because her decree nisi failed to materialise, she is convinced he is dead.She said: “I’ve been told that the plane went down into the sea from 4,000ft. That would be like hitting a brick wall. Everything would just disintegrate.” Victoria added: “I’ve never thought for one second it could be anything more than an accident. When you know the man the way I do, there’s no way he’d jump out in a parachute.“He loved being the centre of attention, he’d never give up his lifestyle and his friends, which is what you’d have to do if you’d faked it.”Ricardo Miranda, Ocean View Properties and Colin Thomas have all strongly denied any wrongdoing. Mr Tout declined to comment and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation could not be contacted.
http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/82370/Vanished-conman-faked-death-

Peaceful protest march in Almeria

peaceful protest march in Almeria
City this Friday, January 9th 2009 - a year exactly after Len and Helen Prior's house
was demolished by the Junta de Andalucía. It's being organised by AULAN, AUAN (both anti-property abuse associations in Almeria), Ciudadanos Europeos and others. This is our first big opportunity to showthat the arbitrary treatment towards property owners must be stopped.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Thani had €50m stolen from his account at Barclays in Marbella

Barclays has settled a legal claim raised by a senior member of the Qatari ruling family over an alleged €50m (£48m) fraud. The settlement, which has been secretly thrashed out over the past few weeks, related to claims from Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Thani, brother of the Emir of Qatar, that €50m had been stolen from his account at Barclays in Marbella between 2001 and 2003. The sheikh's wife Princess Kasia Al-Thani, who first discovered the fraud and has been spearheading the legal action,
The case was a cause of embarrassment for Barclays, headed by John Varley, which had been battling the sheikh's claims while raising billions of pounds from Qatar's state investment funds. The bank recently turned to Qatar for the bulk of its £7bn capital raising. Qatar also backed a £4bn fund-raising by the bank earlier this year. Last month Barclays was reportedly ordered to post €20m as security with a Spanish court as part of a legal battle. At the time a settlement was said to be still some way off after a letter from the sheikh in the summer which vowed he would pursue every legal route possible to recover his money. The sheikh, who is now a minister attached to the embassy in Paris and who was Qatar's Opec representative, accused Barclays of gross negligence for allowing an employee of his to take about €4m a month from a personal account in Marbella. The sheikh claims a former employee set up a bank account at Barclays' Marbella branch, using his own name and the sheikh's. The sheikh claims he had no knowledge of this and his signature was forged. It is alleged money from another of his accounts was siphoned to the joint account, and later withdrawn or transferred to Monaco, the British Virgin Islands and Switzerland. Despite the sums allegedly involved, the billionaire sheikh did not notice until his wife spotted the irregularities. Princess Kasia said: "I just saw some papers on my husband's desk and noticed something was wrong. We added the figures and found all the money we thought had been going into the bank had been going straight back out again." She said: "People said I was mad. But I strongly believe there is a gap in the market for an easy and efficient service with a range of gifts you would want yourself. We've been taking sales for a month and already we've had 95,000 hits and strong sales. Of course people are being more cautious but this is a long-term business." Barclays declined to comment about the claim.

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