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Expats to give evidence to MRI investigation in Spain

More than fifty expatriates from England and Ireland have been summonsed to appear in court in the Spanish town of Marbella to give evidence against property millionaire Darragh MacAnthony the former boss of MRI.

DARRAGH MacAnthony, the former boss of MacAnthony Realty International (MRI), is facing a criminal investigation in Spain following complaints from former clients that furniture “packs” purchased from one of his companies were never delivered.

MRI sold properties in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Cape Verde, Morocco and Romania, where the company also arranged furniture supplies.

In 2007, Eoin Morgan from Clontarf in Ireland bought a furniture pack for his two-bedroom apartment in Royal Seacrest in Paphos, paying a 50% deposit of €6,500. In September 2008, he was told by MRI that the company supplying the furniture had ceased trading and that MRI would honour his agreement if he paid the remaining 50%.

Morgan paid the balance but when he was told that his furniture would not be ready until six to eight weeks after he signed for the property, he asked for a refund. But the furniture was never delivered and MRI failed to give him a refund.

John and Muriel Andrews from Ballycarry, Co Antrim, paid £26,000 for a furniture pack in 2006, but Mr Andrews said: “We as yet have received no furniture, no offer of a refund, no apology.”

Under Spanish law, members of the public may initiate a criminal procedure in certain circumstances, and some 50 MRI customers filed a claim in Madrid in June. The complaint was referred to a court in Marbella, where it was recently accepted.

Fifty-one expatriates have been summonsed to appear at the Marbella court to give evidence against MacAnthony in January. The judge will then decide whether MacAnthony and five other defendants should face charges.

According to a report in The Sunday Times MacAnthony, the chairman of Peterborough United football club, didn’t reply to questions the newspaper put to him last week regarding the companies recommended by MRI or the allegations of wrong-doing.

MacAnthony has previously said: “There are no foundations behind these allegations. I certainly didn’t do anything wrong and neither did anyone with MRI when I was there.”

He also said: “I operated a company which did thousands of sales around the world with many happy clients, but will forever be haunted by the few hundred for which it didn’t work out.”

Readers' comments

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  • Martin Arnold says:

    I bought an apartment in Bulgaria through MRI who were the agent,not the developer. I also bought their furniture pack and annual management/marketing service. Luckily I paid using my credit card for all but the final balance of the furniture so when MRI failed to deliver ANY of these products or services I was able to recoup my loss from MBNA. This was not a quick process as MBNA only paid me back after the senior Ombudsman came out in my favour.

    MRI also breached the terms of our contract in respect of another apartment purchase. They borrowed money from a bank and used the development as collateral, against the terms of our contract. They managed to get “my” solicitor to try and have me sign a new contract which would have meant that their loan that breached our initial contract would have been acceptable. “Conflict of interest” by “my” solicitors Legal Independence in Bulgaria? I think so.

  • Judy Kilbourne says:

    There are many people that have lost money to MRI and friends – perhaps now we well see justice!

  • @John – thanks for your comments, but I would not say that I was an expert on buying property here. But I know many of the pitfalls that people fall into and how they can be avoided.

    It’s always easier to avoid the problems than trying to recover from a bad situation later.

  • John Hopperton says:

    Hi Nigel,

    I have just looked you up on google as someone else mentioned you. I did not realise you was an expert on property buying in Cyprus. However, I must thank you for your comments and for your knowledge etc about knowing about the MRI-SG Forum, to which I already knew of as quoted earlier. All the best to you. Cheers John

  • John Hopperton says:

    Hi Nigel,

    In fact there is another group on Facebook which is not so confidential. It is called the Aspen Valley Bansko group. I have just wrote on there today, I am known as Chelsea John on Facebook. You can add me as a friend if you are Facebook also. Tracey Sharpe has just written on there today quoting that Aspen Valley still has no restaurants or spa or other facilities and will not have for a number of years as no money. What a swap offer that I was given and they expected more money out of me and continued with their lies. The whole thing just sickens me how they have ruined peoples lives and Darragh says his company did nothing wrong along with the lawyers Martinez / Legal Independence. Those lawyers let down so many people because their close working relationship with MRI.

  • @John – No, I’m not aware of another MRI forum.

  • John Hopperton says:

    Hi Nigel, yes I am on there and also the more recent confidential one. Are you aware of that one ?

  • @John – thanks for your comments. I believe there many more people who bought in Bulgaria who have suffered. Are you a member of the MRI Support Group? They have a confidential forum.

  • John Hopperton says:

    I have now put word across to many other clients who have suffered as a result of MRI. Their comments will follow shortly.

  • John Hopperton says:

    I have been badly affected by MRI with all the constant lies by the staff who worked for Darragh Macanthony at MRI.

    I fully paid for an unfinished apartment at the Silver Mountain Complex in Bulgaria. I had to pay a deposit to Solutions Overseas for a furniture package, this was after being lied to by my MRI rep who told me furniture was inclusive of the purchase price of €66,404, that was in July 2008.

    In March 2010 as a result of non-completion of Silver Mountain I was offered a swap deal to the Aspen Valley Complex, Bulgaria on the condition I paid an additional €10,000 with furniture included. I was told that Aspen Valley was habitable. However, when I went to visit the complex in August 2010 it was far from the case with no electricity and all common public areas and rooms were empty and the indoor swimming pool had no water.

    I have consequently been told they want another €6,000 and furniture is not included in the swap offer as supposedly banks had taken over the complex. Electricity was finally up and running during the 3rd quarter of 2011. I have suffered big time as a result of MRI with enormous stress and had medical and hospital help. This has gone on for to long with many people affected.

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