Property tycoon ordered before Spanish courts

February 6th, 2012
Story by ROB SMYTH | Burton Mail

A subpoena is set to be served for Colin Thomas, of Town Hill, to appear in Madrid as a class action lawsuit against Spanish developer Ricardo Miranda Miret continues to rumble on in an effort to recover money on behalf of dozens of Ocean View Properties (OVP) victims.

The criminal claim for fraud and misappropriation of funds was lodged in a Madrid court last year and included Mr Thomas and other directors of his firm.

The prosecuting lawyer is seeking more than £6.5 million in damages for 70 claimants.

The firm took deposits worth around £80,000 each from British investors, but much of the cash disappeared as the homes failed to materialise, it is alleged.

Antonio Flores, the Spanish prosecuting lawyer from Marbella-based firm Lawbird, said: “We have requested that Colin Thomas specifically is summoned and quizzed.

“I don’t believe OVP knew anything about what was going on but they will be forced to talk in court.

“This was a scam of huge proportions. It has the potential of becoming one of the biggest property scams, as none of the developments will be built.” Mr Thomas’s company was behind a number of successful enterprises but ran into difficulties when it became involved as an agent for Spanish developer Ricardo Miranda Miret.

More than a thousand British investors who paid £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 Madrid court claims are linked with developments that never materialised at the Estepona Country Club on the Costa del Sol and Punta Perla, in the Dominican Republic.

This comes after the Mail revealed that The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and Staffordshire Police would take ‘no further action’ following the collapse of OVP.

Last year, the Mail also revealed that 50- year-old Mr Thomas was banned from being a company director for nine years after an Insolvency Service investigation revealed that he had pocketed almost £14 million despite the firm being insolvent.

The findings also showed that his firm took £23 million from customers for a Spanish development that it did not own, did not have a building licence for and never undertook any construction work on.

Despite efforts by the Mail, neither Mr Thomas nor his advisors were unavailable for comment.

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