Tuesday 20 July 2010

CMG Fails To Answer Legal Questions

I know, the post title is pretty familiar at this stage, but this is a very different set of questions being asked by some serious people - Justice Finlay Geoghegan in the High Court to be specific. These questions have been thrown up by the liquidation of Flash Developments, which had been holding the contracts and money of investors in the Palm View Resort in Boa Vista, Cape Verde.

In a piece in the Sunday Business Post on June 27th Ian Kehoe claimed that the "High Court has ordered an investigation into property company Flash Developments, after evidence emerged that the company may have used deposits from buyers to finance the running of the firm."

It went on to claim: "It has also emerged in court documents that the company, which is headed by businessman Ciaran Maguire, may not have title over land in Cape Verde, where it had proposed to build a €100 million property scheme."

It also claimed: "documents filed last week by the liquidator, KPMG accountant Kieran Wallace, said that Flash appeared 'to have financed the general running of the company' from the deposits it received, rather than place them on secure deposit. "

The Insolvency Journal had the following on June 23rd: "The High Court also heard on Monday that the liquidator of Flash Developments Ltd, Kieran Wallace, is pursuing an investigation into representations made on behalf of the company which appear to suggest that the company may have taken deposits for villas and apartments when it didn't have the authority to do so.

The firm, controlled by businessman Ciaran Maguire, was placed into liquidation in May following a court petition by international recruitment firm Hays.

Flash Developments had received deposits from 200 Irish and British investors for properties in a proposed €100 million resort on Cape Verde. But speaking to the Sunday Business Post last month, Magure insisted that all of the deposits were safe, despite the wind-up of the firm, because all contracts, development lands and credit lines had been transferred to another company – the Ciaran Maguire Group."

These are very, very serious claims of fraudulent activity and we didn't feel it was right to put such claims on the blog, even though the claims weren't ours, without asking Ciaran for a comment on them. In fairness, he's been fairly forthcoming in the recent past, answering most of the queries we've put to him. So we did just that - and didn't get an answer. Instead his office responded to say he was in Cape Verde and would like to be given a chance to respond on his return.

So we waited, and waited, and waited. Still nothing.

Eventually, on July 13th Ciaran came back to us with the following: "I have just returned from Cape Verde and can confirm that building works are on going and I will furnish you with the updated pictures tomorrow. I can also confirm that the claims from Kieran Wallace are absolutely false and I am very much looking forward to outlining all the actual facts. I would also like to highlight that Kieran Wallace has no involvements in Ciaran Maguire Group and therefore has never seen any documentation in the Ciaran Maguire Group including contracts thus making these claims unfounded."

So we waited for the follow-up - but it never came. In fact, Ciaran has stopped responding to our emails completely for some reason so we've had to put up the post without further input from him.

Today (July 20th) the following appeared on the Boa Vista Experience Forum from the user CMG:

Dear all,

I would like to convey that under the advice from my legal team, I will no longer be in a position to post comments on this forum. Despite several requests to sit down with interested parties in both my office in Dublin and including making myself available to fly to the U.K. to meet with any interested parties, I have not received one offer. I have made it categorically clear that I was happy to answer all questions put to me.

Sitting down and having a face to face meeting would have given me the opportunity to outline and display the facts allowing me to furnish these parties with all the relevant documentation. I believe this would have allowed you to give a true reflection on Palm View Resort.

In light of the above my legal team have been working on logging and detailing all the posts made on this forum. It is now my intention to aggressively seek compensation for defamation and reputational damages. I would like to highlight to the careless bloggers on this forum that my legal team have now traced all the IP addresses and real names behind the identified bloggers and will be issuing the legal letters to the aforementioned.

The people on this forum who have made comments deemed to be defamatory please note; I intend to use these posts on this forum as evidence against you in a court of law.

In relation to the existing 200 plus clients and investors in Palm View; I would like to advise that my office will be furnishing you with updated pictures of on going works on site and general monthly updates. We are on schedule for completion in December 2011 and we can all look forward to seeing Palm View coming to fruition.


Ciaran Maguire."

This follows a similar threat on the same forum on June 14th last. Following that post we were contacted by a number of posters on the forum who said Ciaran hadn't even got their country right in some cases.

This IP Address Tracking claim is a particularly strange one as most ISP's (Internet Service Providers such as Eircom and BT) these days provide clients with what is termed a 'Dynamic IP Address'. It is a system whereby IP Addresses are assigned randomly to clients as they are needed, rather than individual IP Addresses being assigned permanently, which is a very poor use of ISP resources. Consequently, most people's IP addresses change at least once every day and several times in most cases, depending on usage. This system makes tracking the IP Address beyond the region in which it is based (e.g. Dublin, Waterford, Cork, etc.) virtually impossible.

It is possible that those hosting the forum could trace the odd post back to a fixed IP Address (common in larger companies who have very heavy internet usage), but not very many of them. In the main they are, and will remain, totally anonymous.

Consequently, Ciaran's claim that he has the names of people posting on this, or any other forum, is absolutely bizarre.

In any case, we've always been very forthcoming with our interest in this particular development, Ciaran knows exactly who we are and the questions we've got. We've also tried to be fair to the developer and have given him every opportunity to put his side of the debate to the general public where possible. He simply seems to have decided not to do so in the last few weeks which is a great shame.

If Ciaran decides to change his mind on this matter and does email us with further information we'll be sure to put it on the blog post-haste.

Tuesday 13 July 2010

Legal Firm Seeks Spanish Property Buyers

Many Irish buyers of property in Spain have run into trouble for one reason or another over the past few years. Unfortunately they've not had much reason to feel particularly cheerful as it is a very lonely place to be and there usually isn't anybody to whom you can go for support.

Well these buyers, depending on their circumstances, may well be interested to hear that there is one company in Spain that may be able to help out.

That company is the European Advisory Service.

The following is from the company's site:

"In recent years major problems have arisen in the property market through over-development, corrupt councils and the recession. The market has collapsed and along with it a huge amount of investors’ money. Some big names in the development world have gone bust and investors are trying desperately to claw back their money with few results so far.

The question at the moments is: what are the chances of getting money back from a developer who has gone bust? Surprisingly, the answer is: excellent – although it won’t happen over night.

How Can Purchasers Claim Their Money Back?

Spain is still very much a socialist country and the laws here are designed to help the man in the street over and above the interests of companies and individuals of power and means. Contracts in Spain usually favour the weaker party and this is the same in the world of property development.

Knowing that there are laws to protect you, however, is not enough. Being able to utilize them for your benefit is the key to success and for this you will need a good, experienced and independent lawyer. By independent we mean not associated in any way with the developer.

We are not associated with any developers and are happy to assess your case without obligation and completely free of charge. Although our lawyers are already representing many people who have lost a lot of money to developers every situation is different and we will help you as an individual and advise on your particular circumstances.

Contact us now for a consultation to see how we can get your money, plus interest, back to where it belongs – with you.

We are particularly keen to speak to people who have purchased through Aifos, McAnthony Realty, Polaris World and Promociones Eurohouse 2010 (Fortuna Hills etc)."

Feel free to visit the company's site and see if it can be of assistance to you.

Note: OverseasCafe.com has no connection with and stands to gain nothing from readers of this blog dealing with European Advisory Service. We also have no experience of the advice or support provided so cannot recommend it in any way.

Thursday 1 July 2010

Dubai Sports City CEO Resigns

We've learned from the new (and not fully operational yet according to the creators) TemptedBuy.com website that U. Balasubramaniam (often simply called Bala) has resigned as CEO of the Dubai Sports City complex in the United Arab Emirates.

The article reads as follows:

"The monster sports themed proposed development claims notoriety in Ireland as that with which the Concerned Dubai Sports City Investors’ Group, now more often referred to simply as the Dubai Action Group, has taken issue over up to €20m in deposits which the investors fear have now been lost.

These investors bought off-plan apartments through Ennis, Co. Clare based overseas property agent, Larionovo, which went into Liquidation in November 2008. The investors are worried that cash invested, which many hoped would fund their retirements, is now tied up in Dubai, possibly never to be seen again. A meeting of the group in Dublin’s Citywest Hotel late in 2009 heard that investors have no idea if building work has started on some apartments, such is the difficulty in getting information from some Dubai Sports City developers. Some had received letters telling them the project had been put ‘on hold’ but there were no offers to return deposits.

In an email sent to his colleagues and contacts Balasubramaniam said: “The time has come for me to move on to a new phase in my professional career after seven eventful years as the Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Sports City. Leaving is never easy and although it has been a tough decision to take, I am looking forward to taking some time off and pursuing other interests. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Dubai Sports City and am very grateful for the support that I have received from the Stakeholders, the company President, the Management and all the staff, who have been of great help to me in carrying out my job and its responsibilities.

It has been a pleasure to make associations and come to know you over the years and would like to personally thank you for your friendship and support in working together to progress this truly unique and great project.”

In an interview in April 2007, Balasubramaniam was quite bullish about the prospects of the Sports City developments finishing on time, since that time, however, there have been significant delays, in common with many other developments around the Emirate. While the global economic downturn took some time to take hold in the UAE, since striking it has proven to be extremely severe and prolonged.

On the latest Dubai Sports City update document, which was released in September ’09 the company claimed that completion had been reached on the Cricket Stadium, the Ernie Els Golf Course, the Butch Harmon School of Golf and the American Curriculum School. It also stated that the Victory Heights golf community had started to welcome residents, the Sports Acadamies Campus was nearing completion and that all roads, infrastructure and utilities were in place. Apart from Victory Heights no mention was made of the status of any other residential developments, which are numerous. A picture was included, however, of the Canal Residence West apartments, which appeared to be around 25% completed."

You can read the article on the TemptedBuy.com website here.