Thursday 27 November 2008

Larionovo Goes into Receivership

The Irish overseas property industry will be left reeling by another high profile casualty of the current economic crisis and the severe downturn in the Irish economy.

Well known Clare based overseas property agent, Larionovo, shut its doors for the last time on Tuesday evening and let go its 11 staff members based in Ennis and Baggot St., Dublin. The company was formed seven years ago by brother-in-law pairing Raymond Norton and Andrew Brett and had sold vast quantities of product in areas as diverse as Dubai, Hungary, Spain, France, India and Portugal.

The company was well known for its high profile campaigns on TV, radio and in the press, taking the sale of overseas property by an Irish company to a new level. Unfortunately, under current financial realities the company's business model would appear to have become redundant.

It's most high profile market was undoubtedly Dubai, where it strongly marketed developments in Dubai Sports City. The company featured on the front page of the property section of the Sunday Independent, edited by John O'Keeffe, on an extremely regular basis. It is generally accepted that the company had many hundreds of Irish buyers.

Larionovo has spent a good deal of time in the limelight recently for the wrong reasons. It was involved in somewhat of a furore back in July when the Irish Independent published an article declaring "... Larionova, the biggest and most high profile of the Irish foreign property agents, is also to shut up shop, amid difficulties getting payment from developers." Larionovo denied the allegations very strenuously and an apology was forthcoming from the newspaper but it's goose has since been cooked. No doubt the Indo will be anxious to report on the current chain of events.

The company was also the main Irish agent for Martinsa-Fadesa, the giant Spanish builder which filed for bankruptcy during the summer.

Larionovo has also been the source of much frustration, vented liberally on the Joe Duffy show last week, with relation to several projects in India that it decided to abandon. Purchasers in the Green Valley, Hill View and Cape Corinth projects, by developer Sigrun, have been promised refunds of their initial deposits, but many have not materialised yet and investors are, understandably, getting very worried. The subject is also the cause of much posting on various threads on the Ask About Money forum.

Larionovo's demise should not actually make much difference to clients who bought through them, as the company didn't build any property. All contracts should be with the developers from whom the property was bought and so, presuming the developers are capable of building the projects, should still complete. Clients will, however, obviously not receive any supplementary services which might have been provided by the agent such as furnishing, rentals, etc. There is also the worry that, with the agent now out of the loop, Sigrun may decide not to refund deposits collected by it. Only time will tell.

The receiver appointed is Grant Thornton. The message at time of posting, being shown on the Larionovo homepage is:

"Please be advised that Paul McCann was appointed Provisional Liquidator of Larionovo Limited on Tuesday November 25th. We are currently trying to establish the position of the investors with regard to the Indian development project. Please email the following details:

Your: 1) Name
2) Address
3) e-mail details
4) Amount of money invested

Kindly note that we will contact you by email by 12 December 2008 with an update on the position."

An independent buyers group has also been formed for those with issues regarding Larionovo's Indian products. For further information email Karen Marshall on

Any way you look at it this is another large nail in the Irish overseas property industry coffin which leaves no doubt as to just how fragile the market is at this point in time.

This isn't the end for Norton and Brett in terms of overseas property. The pair are also directors of Profile, a Dubai based company which is currently working on development work in the Emirate and has also been instrumental in the purchase and ongoing development of the islands of Ireland and Thailand in The World development in the Arabian Gulf.

There is a link to this story on our website here.

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Monday 24 November 2008

OPP Live '08

We are delighted to have been asked to attend this year's OPP Live 08 exhibition at the ExCel in London on November 25th and 26th. Organised by Overseas Property Professional magazine and events the show is now in its fourth year and has gone from strenght to strength, despite ongoing turmoil in property markets worldwide.

If there's anyone out there who wants to meet up with us at the exhibition just drop a line to or ring Tara on 00353 86 044 9278 and we'll do our best to arrange something.

Alternatively, if you're visiting the exhibition and are a registered visitor, you can log in to OPP's online diary and arrange a time to meet up with us.

We will be giving a seminar on the current state of the Irish overseas property industry and where it might go in the future. If you wish to attend it will be in Theatre 4 at 3pm on Tuesday November 25th.

Saturday 22 November 2008

Replies from Flash Developments

We've received a reply of sorts from the Ciaran Maguire Group, aka Flash Developments, relating to the queries we put to them last week.

We're quite disappointed that the group has decided that the vast majority of the queries we put to them are irrelevant. We know we are not alone in feeling that questions relating to land ownership, planning and master plans for the development would be relevant, but it would appear that CMG don't agree with us on this, which is a great pity.

In any case, this is the reply we got:

We would like to take this opportunity to reply to all the Relevant Questions that have been asked. We welcome your questions and comments, as this enables us to clarify any uncertainties. We have also been made aware that on numerous blogs and web forums that the posts in relation to Ciarán Maguire, Flash Developments and the Palm View Resort, have gone past the point of asking questions and now gone into the category of what we and our lawyers firmly believe to be serious defamatory content. Subsequently we have started legal proceedings against the identified hosts of these websites.

Moving on to what we feel are the more important issues and questions. Please note that the following information is factual and we have provided official documentation to outline this.

Flash Developments had recognised that Boa Vista in Cape Verde was an emerging market with massive potential, after our investor surveyors had undertaken all economic and feasibility studies, a plot of land was identified, at which point our lawyers carried out all the relevant due diligence. Subsequently on the On the 5th of July 2007, Flash Developments entered into an agreement with Mr. Martiano Oliveria for the Purchase of a 98,000 sq meter plot in Praia De Chaves. This Agreement was inscribed in the town hall of Boa Vista under number 5438.

Praia de Chaves is located within a ZDTI zone and currently falls under the control of SDTIBM in respect of planning permission and project approvals. After having met on several occasions with SDTIBM officials, including one of its Directors Francisco Neves, it became apparent that it would take longer than anticipated to receive all documentation and licences which would allow us to commence construction. It was at this point that the decision was made to relocate Palm View to Curral Velho which lies outside the ZDTI zone and falls under the jurisdiction of State Patrimony. Due to the plot of land being significantly larger at the new location, we were able to incorporate more first class facilities such as a Championship Golf Course and Marina into our Master Plan. We are confident that this will add further solid capital uplift to future property values to the benefit of all our clients. Since then we have met and have continued to liaise with Paulo Soares Director General for State Patrimony who fully endorses the Palm View Development. We have received a letter from Paulo Soares( appendix 1) stating that he has received all the documentation from us and is now assessing the information before signing off on the relevant protocols. We expect to receive these protocols within the next 2- 3 weeks, which will be posted on our website. NDR a well respected UK law firm that specialise in Cape Verdean and Portuguese law and who represent the majority of the clients on Palm View, have spoken directly to Paulo Soares and he has given assurances that land title will be transferred and Licences issued by year end 2008, allowing construction to start by start of first quarter 2009.In turn NDR have advised their clients to proceed with their purchase of the Palm View Resort.

To coincide with the launch of Palm View we personally chartered a Boeing 737 aircraft to take over 100 potential clients and their legal representatives Neville De Rougemont, as well as journalists including the UK’s Financial Times who wrote a very positive article on an all inclusive inspection trip. This inspection trip was completely endorsed by Cape Verdean Officials and was attended by the Mayor of Boa Vista. The trip in its entirety was a massive success, with the result that all clients that attended the trip purchased units on Palm View.

We would like to Clearly Highlight that all monies received from the inspection trip and subsequent sales were placed into an Escrow account, with the Clients Lawyer NDR being the Escrow Agent (Appendix 2) until such a time that all the relevant licences were received.

To coincide with the current global market we along with most developers that sell off plan had to revise our payment structure to facilitate clients that are finding it difficult to raise the necessary capital. We were able to broker an innovative deal with a UK based bond company that is regulated by the FSA called Exchange Bond and subsequently a protocol was signed between Flash Developments and Exchange Bond (Appendix 3). New contracts where then put in place incorporating the bank bonds and in turn these contracts were signed off by the clients lawyers NDR. This concept was applauded in the UK by agents as being the first of its kind, subsequently Palm View Resort was one of the few developments that continued and still continues to sell in the current market.

The procedure for using the bonds is quite simple and straight forward. Clients transfer minimal deposit for the unit that they wish to reserve. Flash Developments then in turn use the deposit to pay the premium on the bond as well as all other related charges. This enables Flash Developments to receive a bank bond from Exchange Bond in lieu of a large cash payment. This means that clients don’t have to release any further money as is the case in most off plan developments until the completion of the Resort. We have also stipulated on our reservation form that all money that is received by Flash Developments is fully refundable should a client choose to withdraw from their purchase.

Any transactions involving client’s money have always been kept “Clear and Transparent”. Money is either held in Escrow or if clients choose to go with the bond option, a minimum amount is put down in a holding account in Allied Irish Bank. This account is exclusively for the money to be paid on the premiums on the bonds and other related charges. All contracts issued to clients are signed off by NDR. We deem some of the comments posted on some forums to be highly irresponsible and fully unjustified given the gravity of many of the allegations alleged.


We have commissioned Loids Engineers to carry out initial engineering works on our behalf (see appendix 4). Loids engineering are a local Cape Verdean company that have extensive knowledge of the building industry in Cape Verde. They are currently involved in the Sambala Project in Cape Verde, which at present is one of the biggest developments on the islands. Loids had taken on provisional works on the old site in Praia De Chaves before it became apparent that more delays were imminent. Once the decision to move to Curral Velho had been confirmed Loids were then instructed to move to Curral Velho where they are currently carrying out provisional works (Appendix 5) allowing us to commence construction in the first quarter of 2009, where as on the original plot we were given no definitive start date.

As part of our investment into the islands, Flash Developments are also extending the new costal road that is scheduled for completion in 2010(see appendix 6). The work on the new costal road has already commenced and its completetion date is set to tie in with the opening of Phase 1 of the Palm View Resort and new 2000 room Riu hotel in Curral Velho. The link road that Flash Developments propose to build will link Palm View to the new costal road, in the interim to facilitate the moving of heavy machinery, equipment and materials we will be carrying out extensive improvements on the existing road, these improvements will allow for easy access to the site.


Point 1
Palm View is currently being marketed as a 7 star resort, we have been working closely with AA official and have been given the specification list, amenities list and staff quota requirements list that with the objective to receive 5 stars from AA, which is a recognised Global Standard. With this in mind our architects and planners factored these points into the design concept of Palm View allowing us to achieve our goals. Different countries have different legislation in respect of this rating, Palm View is being listed as a 7 star development in accordance with Cape Verdean Legislation. You will find examples of this in UAE and also in South East Asia. However it has always been our goal to develop one of the world’s most luxurious resorts and we are confident that we will achieve our goal.

Point 2
Palm View Resort is a 2.2 billion euro development. This figure relates to the sale price of Palm View which includes the Hotels, Golf Course, Villas, Apartments and Studios. At NO point did we mention that we had a credit line for 2.2 billion euro. Our official statement is that the 2.2 billion euro is part of our seven year plan for Boa Vista.

Point 3
With regard to our website, we accept that several grammatical errors were made. At present we outsource our web design, 3D renderings and CGI fly through to a company based in Uruguay called NEXUS. The website went live as a test some weeks ago without a final sign off from Flash Developments; subsequently a lot of information was picked up in this time such as grammatical errors and spelling errors which have now been amended.

Point 4
In relation to the information of our aircraft, we currently have a deal in place to wet lease two Boeing 737 aircrafts. These aircrafts will become operational at such a time that coincides with the opening of Palm View Resort. The term of our wet lease will be over 48 months with the option to renew the contract for a further time period or with the option to acquire the aircraft ourselves. The 3 airports that we intend to fly from are Dublin, Manchester and London Gatwick.

Point 5
In reference to our involvement in the construction industry, we would like to point out that our website mentions that we have been involved in the construction industry since 1988 and not formed in 1988. This was the date that Flexi Fabrication was founded by Christopher Maguire, who is one of the company directors of Flash developments. The reason we mentioned this, is to enable us to convey the experience that a member of our senior staff has within the construction industry. Flash Developments is the vehicle being used to Develope Palm View. We clearly stipulated that once overseas land was acquired, Flash Developments were then brought in to Build and Design Developments on the acquired land.

With Respect to our involvement in the Dundrum Shopping Centre and the K Club, this is derived from the company Flexi Fabrication, Ciarán’s fathers company. Ciarán headed up a division of the company namely Flexi Fit and managed both of these projects in relation to all works that where undertaken by the Flexi Group.


We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your relevant questions. It is in everyone’s interest that full clarity is achieved; however there have been a lot of unfair comments posted. To date we have spent a lot of money, time, effort and resources on the project, we are one of the few companies that are hiring staff in this ever increasing difficult climate at the moment. Over the next 14 months our Dublin offices will take on over 80 staff and we will be contracting Irish engineering companies and surveyors to work on the ground in Cape Verde. As well as this we will also be creating in excess of 3000 jobs over the next 7 years in Cape Verde. These unfair comments being posted and misguided information hinders our progress. It is our belief that due to the non comprehension of our innovative and unique payment terms, that this has lead to people sabotaging our business acumen. Some of the information being hosted and posted, is deemed by Flash Developments to be highly offensive. We are outraged by allegations concerning our credibility, integrity, bona fides and business acumen skills. We encourage all our own clients to carry out all relevant due diligence and we are always on hand to answer any questions clients may have.

While we welcome any questions, it is clear that some forums are currently operating under the policy “Shoot first, Ask questions later”, we would however appreciate more respect and cooperation from the relevant forums and request that forums conduct themselves with a much more suitable decorum.


This document is not signed but it was received from Deirdre Pluck, Global Marketing and Sales Manager. 

We have copies of all the appendices if anyone wishes to see any of them, we don't have a facility to upload them here. Just email if you want a copy and we'll send them on.

If you have any questions for CMG they can be directed to or you can visit the company's website

Friday 21 November 2008

Irish Tax Residency Laws Change

The recent finance bill has changed the tax residency rules. For most of us this will not make a jot of difference, but for our high flying tycoons who have left Ireland to become tax resident outside the state it will cause a bit of discomfort.

Essentially the Irish government are trying to get their mitts on taxes from Ireland's richest individuals, particularly those who still do much of their business in Ireland, but then wing their way off to their foreign tax haven mansions in the evening. The paragraph of most interest to Ireland's high fliers will be this one:

"Section 13 amends section 819 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 to provide that, in determining the number of days spent in the State for tax residence purposes, an individual shall be present in the State for a day if he or she is present in the State at any time during that day."

Of course this provision will only be of any assistance to the Irish economy if the Revenue can find a reliable method of actually proving that people have been in Ireland at any particular point in time. Most of these guys can't be tracked by airline flight data, as they don't use commercial airlines, and many are never flagged at the airports they use to enter and leave the country. This, of course, is an entirely different matter and one, it would be hoped, the government is looking into at the moment.

You'll find an advisory piece on the changes, plus a link to the actual finance bill document (should you be in need of help to sleep) here.

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Advisory pieces on the website

Thursday 20 November 2008

Atlantis Dubai Grand Opening

The Atlantis Resort in Dubai has its official opening this evening in what is expected to be one of the most extravagant, money-pits of a grand opening ever seen on the planet.

The resort, pictured on the left almost exactly a year ago, (it looks a lot more spiffy than this now), is a recreation of the famous Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.

According to the Khaleej Times some of the famous attendees will include Robert De Niro, Denzel Washington, basketball legend Michael Jordon and talk show host Oprah Winfrey, as well as singers Janet Jackson (I'd imagine they'll be paying extreme attention to her attire just in case anything pops out) and Lindsay Lohan (likewise).

Aussie music legend, Kylie Minogue, is to make her debut Middle East performance at the exclusive event for over 2,000 guests from across the globe. Actor Tom Cruise, Charlize Theron, and celebrity tantrum thrower, Naomi Campbell, are also expected to be in attendance.

The opening will host a record-breaking fireworks display, both in size and cost (well what else would you expect? This is Dubai after all), designed and created by international pyrotechnics expert, Grucci.

Fireworks will stretch across the full 520 kilometres of Palm Jumeirah, lighting up the entire island and the Atlantis resort, creating a display that will be visible from space (what part exactly isn't specified, but you know what they mean). Whatever else you say about the Emiratiis, you've got to hand it to them, they do excess better than practically anyone else.

The event might come as a bit of a shot in the arm for the Dubai property market which appears to be in somewhat of a slide of late, but I wouldn't bet on it. You have to say it's a great way to kick off a recession though. It sure beats the misery in which we're inclined to wallow in Ireland.

This is how the fireworks display went, pretty impressive (if you don't mind the €30m price tag). Video courtesy of CNN.

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For a selection of property in Dubai click here.

For a list of agents selling property in Dubai click here.

For independent articles on the Dubai property market click here.

For advice on purchasing in Dubai click here.

For news on the Dubai property market click here.

For new releases and product updates from Dubai agents click here.

For a selection of property exhibitions featuring Dubai property click here.

Wednesday 19 November 2008

Queries for Ciaran Maguire about Cape Verde development

Just over a week ago we were contacted by the Ciaran Maguire Group, who were not very impressed with our previous blog on the company. They had nothing against the blog per-se, but were worried about some of the links to forums questioning the group and its plans for the Palm View Resort on Boa Vista island in Cape Verde.

We refused to remove the blog on the grounds that we felt it linked to a number of sources of information that would be invaluable to potential clients wishing to make a judgement on whether they should consider purchasing on this development or not. We instead, proposed putting a list of questions to the company which we felt would help ameliorate some of the worries potential investors, and current investors, with the group might have. They agreed that this would be a good way to go forward.

We submitted the list of questions on Wednesday November 12th and asked them to respond to them by the following Friday, November 14th. On November 13th the company asked if they could be allowed until the following Monday, November 17th to complete the answers to the questions. We agreed to this. It is now Wednesday November 19th and, to date, all we have heard is that they are still working on the replies to the questions.

We made it widely known that we were asking these questions of the company and at this stage we feel we have no option but to publish the list of questions, even though we have, as yet, received no reply to any of them.

Despite the lack of a response from the company to date we would have to stress that we have no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of the Ciarán Maguire Group. We do, however, feel that they have left a lot of questions to be answered and are very disappointed that they have, to date, reneged on their commitment to provide answers to some of these questions.

If we do get answers to some or all of the questions from the company at any stage in the future we will list them here as soon as they are received.

1. Where has the Ciarán Maguire Group suddenly come from? Nobody in Ireland has ever heard of them before. This seems very strange. A company starting a big ambitious project such as this, generally does so on the back of a strong track record. What is Ciarán’s track record in the development field either in Ireland or overseas?

2. Does the Ciarán Maguire Group actually own any land in Cape Verde at this point in time? If so, can you produce documentary evidence of this title?

3. Why was the project moved from the originally mooted Chaves Beach location, where many apartments had been sold, to the new one in Curral Velho.

4. In a post on the Boa Vista Experience website on September 17th last Colm (Quinn I presume) posting as ‘Flash Developments’ claimed that “As it stands we have contracted Liods engineering to start work on the site. they are currently on the ground doing what they do. We have recently sent across to the engineering company and the builders the sum of €4.5 million euro. As a development company we are not going to send across such a vast amount of cash without the land etc being purchased.” This statement would obviously indicate that development work had started in the Chaves Beach location.

5. On October 30th, in Colm’s last post on the forum, it was announced that, far from building having taken place on the Chaves Beach plot, it was now being moved to Curral Velho. This hardly seems credible. Was there ever any development on the Chaves Beach plot?

6. What are the workers that were employed on this project now doing?

7. Is Curral Velho not a ‘Protected Area’ on the island of Boa Vista?

8. Queries have been raised about the ability to reach the Curral Velho site. Investors are worried that roads are not planned to reach this area for some time and even when they do, they will be a long way short of the currently proposed site.

9. Can the planning permission for Chaves Beach really merely be transferred in a matter of a few weeks, as appears to be suggested? Surely such planning issues would need to be ratified by the government again and viewed in light of the new location and any planning restrictions that may exist there. This would, one would imagine, take months, if not years to complete.

10. In light of the above query, does the Ciarán Maguire Group have full planning permission for the proposed development in Curral Velho? If so is it possible to see documentary evidence of this?

11. Does CMG have a copy of the documentation on the Exchange Bond Guarantee which is being used in this project?

12. Who holds the funds that have already been paid in escrow? Is it possible to see a legal guarantee that CMG has no access to this account until building has completed?

13. Does CMG have a copy of the documentation showing the commitment of Banif to provide a 100% mortgage on completion?

14. Who is providing the guarantee for the 10 year 7% return on the properties? How can purchasers be assured that this guarantee will, indeed, materialise?

15. Colm has said in his announcement on the Boa Vista Experience that the company has “been working closely with the Cape Verdian (sic) Government, who fully support and endorse our 2.2 billion euro development. In recognition of this multi billion euro investment in the islands, the Cape Verdian (sic) Government have ceded further government owned land to allow for massive improvements as well as ensuring no prolonged delays.” It has, however, been alleged that the Cape Verdean government run planning authority, SDTIBM, has not even received details of any proposed project for Curral Velho. Can you explain how this could be the case?

16. Can you pass on details of a government official with whom we can speak (outside of those directly connected with the project) to confirm that the appropriate land ownership and planning permissions exist?

17. The website also claims that “to facilitate the additional world-class facilities already in place the site is being moved to the prime location of Curral Velho in proximity to Santa Monica beach.” Surely Curral Velho is completely barren and there are no facilities of any description there, not even a roadway. What exactly does Ciarán mean by this statement?

18. Is Palm View Resort intended to be a Five Star Resort, a Six Star Resort or a Seven Star Resort? All three have been mentioned at one time or another on one or other of Ciarán’s websites or in newspaper articles. Confusion such as this tends to make investors very nervous, particularly when the developer himself appears to change the star rating on a regular basis.

19. Ciarán’s website says he has purchased hotels in Mexico & Miami. Can you outline which hotels these are and how much he paid for them?

20. Ciarán’s press release describes him as ‘an award winning entrepreneur’. Can you outline any awards he has won to date?

21. Why do apartment specifications and prices differ radically depending on what website they are found? E.g. and, two of your own sites, have completely different site plans on them.

22. Ciarán has “outlayed ‘€100m in land acquisitions … that include hundreds of hectares of prime sea front land in locations such as Brazil, Panama, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Miami and Cape Verde.” Could you outline where the plots are in Brazil, Panama, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Miami, how much they cost and at what level of development they currently reside?

23. Ciarán’s site claims to be developing three golf courses worth €110m. to be designed by the worlds leading course architects. Who are these architects exactly and at what stage are they with plans for these courses? The courses are, apparently, set for completion by 2011 so they should have at least broken ground and have had some of the necessary infrastructural work completed at this stage.

24. Where did Ciarán manage to raise the €100m necessary to purchase such lands without ever coming to the attention of the business community? Figures like this get bandied about a lot in the property industry but it is, nonetheless, not easy for someone with no previous development credentials to come by such funds.

25. The Casino portion of the web site claims that “Currently the worlds most acclaimed Architects, Engineers and Hotel designers are working on the Palm View Resort.” Could Ciarán name some of these so that we could ask them for comments about their involvement in the project.

26. Those who have visited the Blinkers Casino in City West claim that it is a long way from being a 5-Star Casino as is claimed on the website. Is this the type of 5-Star level to which casinos, and other facilities, in the Palm View Resorts will aspire?

27. Ciarán’s site claims: "To date we have created millions of Euro for our clients by identifying the right investment opportunities..." Could he detail or give examples of some of these opportunities?

28. The Ciarán Maguire Investments section of the website specifies an investment “offering 50% return over 24 months.” As this is obviously a financial offering we would like to know if it has been passed by IFSRA? We would also like to know what, exactly the investment is as it sounds like a very welcome return in such a poor investment environment.

29. We would like to know the names of the top team of professionals mentioned in the Investment portion of the site and what their qualifications are to manage such an investment portfolio.

30. We’d also like to know why the phone numbers quoted on this Investment portion of the site lead to two private houses in Co. Tipperary who know nothing of your company.

31. Some current clients of the company would like to see proof of the €2.2 Billion line of credit Ciarán says is being offered by Banif to complete this project at a time when banks worldwide do not have the ability to lend in any capacity, particularly not for property development.

32. Can Ciarán justify the inclusion of 25 sq. m. studio apartments in a six or seven star development? Surely such a star rating implies a level of uber-luxury that simply cannot be provided in such a small space.

33. Why were the planes changed from 747’s to 737’s and the London airport changed from London City to ‘pending negotiations with Gatwick’?

34. Has Ciarán, purchased 2 x 747 jets or is he simply hiring them as required? The website stated that he had purchased two such jets but it now says that ‘two 737’s have been acquired’, even though the picture on the website is still a 747 as far as we are aware. There is a substantial difference between the two and it has been outlined that the former could not be accommodated in some of the airports mentioned, London City and Boa Vista included.

35. The airline industry is a very tough one at the best of times, but recent economic realities have made it impossible for all but the strongest companies to survive. What is Ciarán’s experience in the airline industry that would indicate that he can succeed where most airlines have, and are currently, failing?

36. Could Ciarán explain the assertion - "To me it just made great business sense having our own aircrafts, it enables us to have a complete monopoly when entering into emerging markets."

37. Are the luxury brands on the CMG website being used with prior agreement from the companies in question?

38. Flash developments states that the complex is being pre-fabricated in modules off-site by a German company and this work is already underway. Could Ciarán provide details of the company undertaking the work so that it may be independently verified?

39. Why does the website claim that your team of directors has been assembled after a worldwide search when three of them are family members and two more are Irishmen in their twenties?

40. What connection does Ciarán’s company have with the K-Club and the Dundrum Town Shopping Centre?

41. Why are there no bios for the lead executives on the website?

42. Ciarán’s bio suggests that, once the overseas land had been identified he formed Flash Developments to secure its purchase. On the Flash Developments site, when it was online, it claimed that Flash Developments was formed in 1988. This would have been at a time when Ciarán was 10. This hardly seems credible.

43. The Flash Developments site said (when it was online) that the company “now plays a key role in the development of many of the most prestigious developments in Ireland.” Could Ciarán outline some of these developments are and what the company’s role was?

44. According to CRO records Flash Developments was registered only last year and has not yet filed accounts. How can this be if it has been around since 1988?

45. The first sentence of Ciarán’s bio says he is “one of the Worlds Youngest Chairmen and Presidents of a Multi Billion euro Corporation.” Where is the Ciaran Maguire Group registered? When did it last file accounts? What was its turnover last year?

46. As a company registered in Ireland involved in the property services industry it is necessary, by law, to be registered with the NPSRA. Is the Ciarán Maguire Group or Flash Developments registered?

47. Why do the contact details for ownership of the web domain list an address in Dublin, Uruguay?

48. Ciarán’s bio suggests that he is a true philanthropist. Can you outline some of this philanthropy to date?

49. Why does Ciarán use such a blatant rip off of a Warren Buffet quote as his own on the intro to his website?

50. Were Ciarán Maguire and Brian Mullen members of a boy band called NV some years ago?

51. How many of each property type has the Ciaran Maguire Group currently sold on the Palm View Resort development?


Ciaran Maguire has come back to us with answers, of sorts, to some of the above queries. Unfortunately the company deemed most of them 'irrelevant', but you'll have to make up your own mind on this. You'll find the answers that were provided here.

Monday 17 November 2008

Property Expo Rides Again

It's good to see that the Sunday Business Post sponsored Property Expo is on the calendar for 2009. With all the doom and gloom in the industry there were fears that the show would not be re-appearing but the announcement has been made that it will, indeed, go ahead.

If nothing else the show provides an opportunity to see who's left standing in the industry and of course, gives a chance to catch up on what exactly is going on as people deal with everything that has happened over the past year.

Opening times for the Dublin Expo are:

Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th April from 11.00-18.00

The Expo will also be held in City Hall, Cork on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th April 2009.

Admission is free!

Click here for further information.

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For an up to date list of upcoming exhibitions and seminars right across Ireland click here.

Sunday 16 November 2008

Lawyer Suing Bulgarian Dreams' Contractors

We've been contacted by Milen Hristov, a Bulgarian attorney-at-law, who is currently suing contractors working for Bulgarian property agent, Bulgarian Dreams on behalf of seven former clients of the company.

We have, of course, referred to Bulgarian Dreams and their activities in the past, you'll find the main post here. For those not in the know, the company was being investigated by the Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP) and, à la MRI Overseas Property, decided that they'd leave before they were dispatched, which they duly were.

If you have had any dealings with Bulgarian Dreams, its owner Rober Jenkin or its legal representatives, DLA Piper, you may be very interested in the information contained in this blog from Milen Hristov which contains reference to a number of pointers about how to handle your dealings with Bulgarian Dreams and how the company operates its business.

To contact Milen Hristov
Phone: 00359 (0) 885558281

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For a selection of property exhibitions featuring Bulgaria property click here.

Saturday 15 November 2008

Irish Airports to Offer US Pre-Clearance Facilities

At last, some bone-fide good news, for Irish airports and travelers to the US.

A report in this morning's Irish Times says that "Dublin and Shannon airports are set to become the first airports outside the Americas to offer full pre-clearance facilities to passengers travelling to the US, thereby boosting their potential as transatlantic hubs and speeding up travel times."

The piece goes on to say: "Both airports already offer immigration clearance but the new agreement will add customs and agriculture clearance on Irish soil for US-bound travellers. This means airlines will be able to fly from Dublin and Shannon to less congested and less expensive domestic terminals in the US. Passengers will be able to check their baggage through to their final destination even if this involves two flights with different airlines."

This will get around the current ludicrous situation where, even when you've booked a through flight to a US destination, you have to collect and identify your baggage once you land on US soil and then put it back on a separate carousel for its onward flight (and depending on who you're flying with, practically a guarantee that you're baggage and you don't arrive at the same time and at the same airport). You are also obliged to wait at huge queues to clear customs in the US even though you've already cleared immigration in Ireland.

Also: "Airlines will also be able to fly direct to smaller and less expensive domestic airports in the US, an option that may prove attractive to budget carriers hoping to enter the transatlantic market. Smaller private jets are likely to combine a refuelling stop in Shannon with pre-clearance."

The news should be a huge shot in the arm to Shannon in particular, which is still reeling from Michael O'Leary's insistence that the governments recently announced €10 departure tax would mean the demise of the airport completely. O'Leary has threatened to reduce the number of planes based in the Clare airport from four to one if the government doesn't renege on its plans to issue a flat €10 departure tax on anyone flying more than 300km out of an Irish airport. Ryanair currently accounts for 60% of all traffic to Shannon. 

It is likely that carriers flying from Europe and the UK will take the option of using Shannon, in particular, as a pre-clearance stopover, before flying to the US as if they were on a domestic US flight. It still sounds a little convoluted, but take it from one who's flown to the US a bit, it's a lot better than the mayhem you generally encounter when you land at major airports in the US at the moment.

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For a selection of property in the USA click here

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For news on the US property market click here.

For new releases and product updates from US agents click here.

For a selection of property exhibitions featuring American property click here.

Friday 14 November 2008

Dubai Property Market Starts to Slide

We'd love to bring you good news stories every day, but let's be realistic, there aren't exactly buckets of them around at the moment and we have to relate what's actually happening in the world of overseas property instead of burying our heads in the sand and pretending that the current market instability doesn't exist.

Despite having wagon loads of cash to spend and many vehement protestations to the contrary, it would appear that Dubai's fledgling property market is suffering just as badly from the global credit crisis as everybody else.

A very interesting piece by Jason Benham in Reuters suggests that "secondary prices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi fell 4 to 5%, with Dubai's advertised villa prices falling by 19 percent month-on-month in October after several banks tightened lending conditions in August and September." It also says that : "Apartments in the Dubai International Financial Centre, the nexus of the banking and investment sector, fell as much as 30 percent."

Another sales agent was quoted as saying that property prices had fallen 30-35% in Dubai since September. The downturn has meant that major developers in the Emirate such as Nakheel, Emaar and Damac are either cutting jobs or at least reassessing employment numbers.

This is not good news for the many thousands of Irish investors that flocked to the Emirate after it opened its property market to the world in 2002. But, you know what they say, "it's an ill wind ...". Perhaps this will make room for another speculative run at this most extraordinary of markets in the not too distant future.

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Dubai Property Links

For a selection of property in Dubai click here.

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For advice on purchasing in Dubai click here.

For news on the Dubai property market click here.

For new releases and product updates from Dubai agents click here.

For a selection of property exhibitions featuring Dubai property click here.

Wednesday 12 November 2008

Chicago Spire Halts Construction

It would appear that Garrett Kelleher's dreams of building the most stunning building on the Chicago skyline are rapidly tumbling to earth.

Launched in a blaze of glory earlier this year by Irish agent Savills HOK (now just Savills) the Chicago Spire tower, which featured lake view apartments from €500k, looks like it is going to be no more than a big hole in the ground for the foreseeable future. And boy is it a big hole at 76 feet deep by 110 feet wide.

Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune reports that spokesperson for the developer, Kim Metcalfe, has said that the construction will go ahead, but no commitment was made as to when this might happen.

The cracks started to show even before the launch tour for the project had completed last spring. As far back as last March Kelleher's Shelbourne Developments failed to pay nearly $430,000 in property taxes due on the proposed site.

Mind you, Kelleher is in good company, although that may not be much consolation, it looks like his isn't the only project that has ground to a halt recently.

According to project spokesperson Kim Metcalfe, Kelleher has spent at least $50 million on construction. She says that this investment is evidence that work on the project will resume and that it will open as scheduled in 2012. This would, however, look like wishful thinking, as there is an estimated 10,000 new condo units scheduled to become available in Chicago by the end of 2009 with no market to absorb them.

The Spire project is bedeviled with problems at the moment as its star architect, Santiago Calatrava, recently filed a lien on the property seeking more than $11.3 million in payment from the developer. The Perkins & Will architecture firm has also filed a $4.85 million lien against both Shelbourne and Calatrava's Festina Lente Ltd.

Foreign woes are starting to become somewhat of a recurring story for Irish agents and developers as high profile companies such as Harcourt Developments, Paddy Kelly, Simple Overseas Properties, KenDar Holdings, KMS, Larionovo, Pruntys Overseas Properties and France First have all run into problems overseas in the recent past.

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USA Property Links

For a selection of property in the USA click here.

For a list of agents selling property in the USA click here.

For independent articles on overseas property click here.

For advice on purchasing in the US click here.

For news on the US property market click here.

For new releases and product updates from US agents click here.

For a selection of property exhibitions featuring American property click here.

Monday 10 November 2008

Advertising Your Overseas Rental Property

We are delighted to announce some more positive news. Heaven knows there's not much of it about these days, but we have been trying our best to bring you some, particularly as the dull and dreary autumn/winter weather really starts to take hold.

In association with Holiday Homes Direct we are offering our clients, many of whom own property abroad, the opportunity to list their overseas rental property on the HHD site, with an added bonus.

If you sign up your overseas property for rental on the excellent HHD site you will get an extra six months for free, just quote code 3025. For a full advertising rate card click here. To add your property click here, and don't forget your offer code, 3025. 

No need to say thanks, we're happy to help in any way we can.

For a selection of property from around the world click here

For a listing of agents selling overseas property click here.

For independent articles on overseas property click here.

For advice on purchasing property overseas click here.

For news on the world of overseas property click here.

For new releases and product updates from agents around the world click here.

For a list of upcoming overseas property exhibitions around the country click here

Saturday 8 November 2008

Advertising Rates on

We've had quite a bit of traffic to the site querying on-site advertising rates. This is, obviously, a very good thing, as it means that the site is raising its profile and has proven an attractive advertising medium for those currently with a presence there.

There are a a great variety of advertising avenues which can be used on the site including banner adverts, Premium Property listings (to ensure your property is featured on the homepage), inclusion on monthly newsletters, dedicated newsletter campaigns to our opt-in overseas property database and advertising on supplementary pages such as the Tempted Buy section, newsletter archive, press archive and of course this blog. 

One of the unique things about the website is that advertising of normal properties is ABSOLUTELY FREE for both agents and private sellers. Yes, you read that correctly, you have to pay absolutely nothing, simply Register on the site and upload your properties. It couldn't be simpler.

Our traffic is growing by the week and the website has become quite high profile across varying levels of media. If you want to maximise your exposure to Irish overseas property buyers, both north and south of the border, the has proven itself an indispensible and incredibly cost-effective tool. 

Don't get left behind. If you want to market your overseas property in Ireland you simply must have a presence on

For further information on using to promote your business please contact Tara O'Toole on or by phone on 00353 (0)86 044 9278.

Monday 3 November 2008

Top 10 Overseas Property Destinations

Well you guys just love 'top 10' lists, so we said we'd better give you some more of them. This is one we've put together from the most frequently visited countries in our property database on the website over the month of October.

Property in the USA. God bless 'em, on the run up to their election the guys Stateside will be delighted and excited (or delired and excired as good old Gaybo used to say) that we love them so much. Bottom fishing? Possibly a little of this, but the Irish do love American property anyway, the fact that it is a little more affordable now is just an added incentive.

Property in France. Ever the popular one, French leaseback has been a constant attraction and the Irish just seem to like France as a place to buy property.

Property in Spain. It's property industry is taking a hell of a beating at the moment, but there are signs that the Irish are looking for bargains there. It is still the easiest place to access for us that has a half decent climate.

Property in Portugal. Always a popular one with Irish buyers. A bit on the expensive side, but there are signs that the Irish are taking to places like the Lisbon coast and the area around Porto now that there is improved flight access.

Property in Sweden. Now this is an interesting one. Solid, stable and with reliable investment returns. Does this mean the Irish are now starting to recognise the attractions of this market?

Property in Cape Verde. Probably not that unusual considering how much Irish development there is on this relatively recent addition to the overseas property landscape. It's pretty high profile at the moment as well with the high profile Irish campaign by the Ciarán Maguire Group.

Property in Bulgaria. Now here's a surprise. Bulgaria hasn't disappeared completely. We're not sure whether the interest is mostly from investors trying to offload their properties or whether there is still genuine interest in the country.

Property in Montenegro. This tiny Balkan state was a big hit with the Irish after its split from Serbia. There are signs that the interest, while it has dipped somewhat, hasn't disappeared altogether. It is a spectacularly pretty country and the Irish appear to have fallen head over heels in love with areas such as Budva, Tivat, Kotor and Herzig Novi.

Property in Italy. Italy has been climbing the charts monthly and the only surprise is that it didn't register higher than ninth place in the list.

Property in Turkey. The Turks are starting to regain their position toward the top of Irish interest tables. For those who are looking for good weather it's a relatively inexpensive option.

And there you have it, that's what people who visited the site in October were looking for in property terms. We'll be sure to provide you with plenty more top 10 lists in the future.

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General Property/News/Agent News/Editorials

For a selection of property from around the world click here.

For a listing of agents selling overseas property click here.

For independent articles on overseas property click here.

For advice on purchasing property overseas click here.

For news on the world of overseas property click here.

For new releases and product updates from agents around the world click here.

For a list of upcoming overseas property exhibitions around the country click here.