REAL ESTATE SCAM UNRAVELLED

Six directors of the Alicante-based real estate company, Riviera Invest, were arrested last Wednesday at the city’s airport as they were about to escape on a private jet to Morocco. The arrests were made by the Economic Crimes Unit of the Judicial Police on the orders of the National Court judge, Santiago Pedraz, in connection with an alleged fraud which is thought to have affected some 1,000 clients in Alicante, Granada and Murcia. The company’s chairman, Claude Roch Tabarot, was among those arrested. Mr Roch Tabarot, a French citizen, is well known in the area, having been the president of the Casino del Mediterraneo in Benidorm until it was closed down by the Finance Ministry for tax evasion at the end of the 1990s. He then founded Riviera Invest which promised quick profits to clients who bought studio apartments or flats in new urbanisations it owned in Alicante, Granada and Murcia. An affiliated company then let out the properties on behalf of the owners. However, some owners discovered their properties were already mortgaged, and that Riviera Invest used the rents collected for other purposes. It is said to owe banks and other companies up to 20 million euros. Investors in Alicante who were not receiving the promised monthly payments reported the matter to the Guardia Civil who set the investigation in motion. Some of them even turned up at the airport to make sure the culprits did not escape.

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