MacAnthony in court to answer charges

Darragh MacAnthony appeard in court today
Darragh MacAnthony

Darragh MacAnthony, 36, has appeared in court in Marbella to explain what happened to money paid by customers of his overseas property company, MRI, for furniture packs that were never delivered.

MacAnthony is accused of accepting payments from MRI customers for furniture packages which the claimants say they didn’t receive.

Speaking in court yesterday the football chairman claimed the money was paid to furniture companies in Bulgaria and Turkey and that they are the ones who have failed to deliver. He added that he had paid money back to some clients out of his own pocket.

When asked about the company he claimed that MRI was legally wound up in 2010. However, Antonio Flores, from law firm Lawbird acting for the plaintiffs, said that Companies House shows it is still trading, and furthermore accounts for years 2009 and 2010 were submitted just one month ago, on March 29th, according to the registry.

Also in the dock, former MRI chief executive, Dominic Pickering said he was not a director of the company but was there to “sort out furniture problems” following MacAnthony’s departure from Spain in 2010. Pickering claimed he was paid up to €20,000 per month to deal with the problems which he said were “sorted in 99.9% of cases.” He also backed up MacAnthony’s claim that the money had in fact been paid to the furniture companies.

Fernando de Arespacochaga, 91, became the frontman of MRI following MacAnthony’s departure. He said he had been paid €600 per month by the MacAnthony’s to front the company. He claimed his nephew had convinced him to sign and he had done so “in good faith”. He added that he, and his company, are insolvent.

Over 40 plaintiffs are claiming over 600,000 has been paid to MRI to furnish properties they had also purchased through the company.

Darragh left court refusing to comment.

MacAnthony ordered to appear

Darragh MacAnthony
MacAnthony will face charges

Following the ratification of the case against him in Marbella recently, millionaire football chairman Darragh MacAnthony, 35, has been ordered to appear in court in Spain next month.

The business man has been accused of taking money from home buyers for furniture packages that never arrived. The victims claim up to 600,000 euros was taken.

Over 40 plaintiffs attended court in Marbella in January to ratify the case in front of a judge who has now ordered the former owner of MacAnthony Realty International (MRI) to come to Spain to face the charges.

MacAnthony will not face the judge alone as his former chief executives Michael Liggan and Dominic Pickering are also being called to attend. The defendants could face up to eight years in jail if convicted.

The Peterborough United chairman handed the reigns of his real-estate company to 91 year old Fernando Arespacochaga, from Peru, in 2010. He too will be required to attend the proceedings.

The case will begin on April 25th.

Antonio Flores, from law firm Lawbird acting for the plaintiffs, says there are “many other” former clients of MRI who were affected by the companies business practices and this case covers just one of the irregularities found within the company.

Flores also said that there is another claim, totalling 15 million euros, that is currently being prepared on behalf of 200 MRI customers who claim they lost large deposits paid to the firm.

MacAnthony does have a case to answer

MacAnthony Case
A small group of protesters outside court

Yesterday, 51 British expats, from England and the Republic of Ireland, attended a Marbella court at the request of the judge to ratify their lawsuit against Darragh MacAnthony.

The football chairman and his former chief executives Michael Liggan and Dominic Pickering, are accused of “theft by swindle and misappropriation of funds” amounting to 600,000€.

The claimants say they gave various amounts of money over to MRI Overseas for furniture packages for properties purchased through MacAnthony’s business but the furniture failed to appear.

The Spanish judge has considered the facts and decided that the three men accused do have a case to answer.

There was a small protest outside the court in which around 40 former MRI clients who had been affected by the case held placards and demanded action against the millionaire businessman.

In 2008, as a result of the many complaints against MRI, a tribunal was held by the National Federation of Property Professionals who were said to be “appalled to hear of the company’s misleading business practices”.  The tribunal resulted in fines of £5,000 and Darragh MacAnthony was forced to withdraw his membership of the Federation.

There must be days in Darragh’s life when he wishes he’d played it straight and by the book. How much easier his life would be today.

MacAnthony claimants in court today

A collective of 51 expats who accuse Darragh MacAnthony of failing to deliver over half a million euros of furniture will have their voices heard in court today.

The courts requested that the claimants attend personally, to ratify the suit, and the court will then decide if MacAnthony has a case to answer.

The claim was initially filed in Madrid in June 2011 and accuses the millionaire businessman of retaining 600,000 euros of clients money that was intended to provide furniture packages for homes bought through MRI (MacAnthony Realty International).

I will be speaking to the law firm involved in the case later on and will let you know the outcome.