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Home > Litigation, Property > Manilva Costa Uncovered!

Manilva Costa Uncovered!

November 23rd, 2009

Shell game scamAnyone who has dealt with Manilva Costa S.A. (developer of Manilva Gardens) will know what I am writing about. The elusiveness of this company in respect to their accountability for contracts Ocean View Properties signed, supposedly on Manilva Costa‘s behalf, with mostly British buyers, has forced lawyers to be more creative and find ways to pursue the refund of their deposits for contractual default.

Mates, the developer’s lawyer, has been well instructed on how to deal with private purchase contract signatories to avoid being held responsible for non-delivery of the units on time. The story can be summarized in the following points:

  1. Property buyers looking for investment opportunities on the Costa del Sol were approached by Ocean View Properties, or viceversa, with an offer or few developments owned by Manilva Costa S.A.
  2. Once the buyers were convinced that the investments was sound they went on to transfer a fat deposit to OVP which would in turn send them two copies of the contracts, unsigned, for them to sign and send back. OVP rarely signed the contract although they did acknowledge the receipt of the deposit.
  3. According to Manilva Costa the deposits where never sent to them and according to OVP they were sent (?). OVP, after gathering millions of pounds in deposits for property and a number of vicissitudes, including unconfirmed claims that the owner had died on an airplane crash in Brazil, went on to file bankruptcy.
  4. Buyers stuck with private purchase contracts signed with Ocean View Properties looked to pursue Manilva Costa for the deposits but found an unsurpassable legal impediment: there were no contracts signed by Manilva Costa and neither acknowledgement of having received the deposits from OVP.
  5. In one occasion we sent a legal notice to Manilva Costa S.A. with a request to confirmed having received the deposit of a client they wrote back positively, thus paving the way for a legal claim in Spain.
  6. Manilva Costa Directors quickly realized that they had to stop this and instructed lawyers to deny having received any such deposits. Strangely enough Mates had the details of all buyers and offered them to complete on their properties for the initially agreed prices minus the deposits, even though the denied having received them. To this date Mates is eager to convince clients to close at the original price minus 30% of the purchase price (approximately the value of the deposits).

After meeting with several buyers stuck with this situation we proposed them to file a claim at the Bristol County Court against both Ocean View Properties and Manilva Costa and needless to say, neither of them appeared in Court to contest them. The case was heard and District Judge Britton acceded to the claimants petitions in full. With this Court ruling, which we legalized and translated to use in Spain, we filed for execution thereof in the Court in Seville and requested that a legal charge was taken out against Manilva Costa to ensure that enough funds were available in the likely event the Seville judge ruled in our favour.

We now expect other claimants to follow suit and not allow Manilva Costa to get away with using carefully planned obfuscation to deter their own bona fide clients from demanding justice to be served. After all, as said before, Europe is now a large country where nobody should be able to find legal shelter after deceiving consumers.

About Antonio Flores

Antonio Flores is the head lawyer at Lawbird, a Spanish law firm specialised in property and litigation. More on .

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