Seventy Irish investors who paid more than €7 million into overseas property developments which were never built are taking legal action in Madrid.
The group mainly small private investors, is part of a wider group of around 1,000 investors from Britain and Ireland who have lost some £40 million.
The purchasers, from north and south of the border, paid deposits - typically of between €85,000 and €120,000 - four years ago for properties in Spain and the Dominican Republic.
A number of purchasers lost far more than these amounts.
Two investors sank €1 million each into the schemes run by Spanish company Sungolf and its director, Ricardo Miranda Miret - one being a development of 350 luxury apartments at the Estepona Country Club on the Costa del Sol, and the other a property development, Punta Perla, in the Dominican Republic.
English-based company Ocean View Properties, which acted as the agent for the Esteponaprojectand sold Punta Perla properties, went into liquidation in August 2009.
Marbella-based lawyer Antonio Flores of Lawbird has lodged a criminal claim in Madrid for misappropriation of funds against the Sungolf director, as well as against the directors, or de facto directors, of Ocean View Properties.
‘‘There must be many other hundreds affected living in Scandinavia, the US and Canada. It will take a lot of work to get funds back, if at all we can," said Flores.
This is only the tip of the iceberg, I would say. There are lots of other investors in Bulgaria, Slovakia etc that will never seee their money back.