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.”