Millionaire set for new court date

September 25th, 2013
Story by ROB SMYTH | Burton Mail

LAWYERS in Europe have revealed a second complaint has been lodged in a case concerning an alleged multi-million pound overseas scam involving an East Staffordshire businessman.

It has emerged that more than 30 people from Britain and Ireland have now lodged a collective action in Madrid after losing hundreds of thousands of pounds to Ocean View Properties (OVP), a firm run by Colin Thomas, of Town Hill, Yoxall.

The case is set to be heard alongside a long-standing class action lawsuit against Spanish developer Ricardo Miranda Miret.

Mr Thomas has already been served a subpoena to appear at a court in Spain earlier this year, only for the case to be delayed after the trial judge had be to be changed.

A court date is expected to be revealed in the next few weeks so that the cases can be heard in tandem.

If Mr Thomas does not appear, a European arrest warrant will be issued.

Antonio Flores, the Spanish prosecuting lawyer from Marbella-based firm Lawbird, said: “The court has deemed it necessary that Colin Thomas and others attend personally, rather than giving a statement in the UK, on grounds of the complexity of the case, the volume of documentation and the principle of judicial immediacy.

“Once they are summoned again, failing to turn up could trigger the issue of an European Arrest Warrant.

“I don’t believe OVP knew anything about what was going on but this was a scam of huge proportions.”

A criminal claim for fraud and misappropriation of funds was lodged in February 2011 in a bid to recover deposits paid by investors to (OVP).

The company was set up in 2001 by buy-to-let millionaire Thomas and other businessmen.

It was behind a string of successful overseas propoerty enterprises but ran into difficulties when it became involved as a UK agent for Spanish developer Ricardo Miranda Miret.

More than 1,000 British investors, who paid a total of £45 million for ‘off-plan’ overseas property developments, have lost their money after the firm was formally dissolved in 2009 with the appointment of liquidators Grant Thornton.

The court claims are linked to developments which never materialised.

Mr Thomas is currently banned from being a company director for nine years following an Insolvency Service investigation.

He was also cleared by the Serious Fraud Office and Staffordshire Police following an investigation into the collapse of OVP.

Former OVP boss Thomas, others accused and Miranda have all ‘strongly denied’ any wrongdoing.

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