ATLAS builder with-holding title deeds

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This topic contains 37 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Melosine Melosine 7 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #52523
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    Anonymous
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    We purchased our home near Torrevieja from Atlas in 2001 and have yet to receive our title deeds from the builder Tecnologia Urbanistica Group.

    Atlas has refused to get involved in the dispute and have asked to pursue our case through our solicitor.

    The solicitor we are using is the same solicitor recommended by Atlas when we purchased our property and has advised us that the builder has re-mortgaged our home and that we should take the builder to court to retrieve out deeds.

    We feel that Atlas should be held accountable as they claimed to look after their clients throughout the whole process of buying our property. We also find that we should change our solicitor as they are linked with Atlas and did not make us aware of the problem when it came to light or have not kept us up-to-date with any progress.

    In addition to ourselves we were informed that a further 200 people are affected in the same way.

    We would appreciate any advice on how we should approach the problem.

  • #68136
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Find a new independant lawyer immediately. Look at this site’s resources pages and you will find a note of some recommended lawyers in your area.

    Believe me, and I speak from experience, continuing to use the Agent’s lawyers is just throwing good money after bad.

  • #67936
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Find a new independant lawyer immediately. Look at this site’s resources pages and you will find a note of some recommended lawyers in your area.

    Believe me, and I speak from experience, continuing to use the Agent’s lawyers is just throwing good money after bad.

  • #68137
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Thanks Oliver,

    We will take you advice and look into independant lawyers. Unfortunatley, I could not find the resouces pages on this site can you please post the URL for the relevant page.

    Thanks,

    Thomasina

  • #67937
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Thanks Oliver,

    We will take you advice and look into independant lawyers. Unfortunatley, I could not find the resouces pages on this site can you please post the URL for the relevant page.

    Thanks,

    Thomasina

  • #68139
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    Anonymous
    Participant
  • #67939
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    Anonymous
    Participant
  • #68163
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Hi Thomasina

    From my understanding (and I could be wrong here but dont thnk so) all parties involved in the sale of a new development are equally responsible for what uios asaid to the purchaser and what happens during the sale. Atlas may well wish to wash their hands of all this but you may find that you can pursue them as well as the developer and the solicitor

    Good luck and I hope 07 brings you the result you expect

    Vince

  • #67963
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Hi Thomasina

    From my understanding (and I could be wrong here but dont thnk so) all parties involved in the sale of a new development are equally responsible for what uios asaid to the purchaser and what happens during the sale. Atlas may well wish to wash their hands of all this but you may find that you can pursue them as well as the developer and the solicitor

    Good luck and I hope 07 brings you the result you expect

    Vince

  • #68166
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Thanks for your advice Vince.
    We plan to go to an independent lawyer this month but have heard that there are not many reputable lawyers in Spain. Do you have any recommendations.

    Thanks,

    Thomasina.

  • #67966
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Thanks for your advice Vince.
    We plan to go to an independent lawyer this month but have heard that there are not many reputable lawyers in Spain. Do you have any recommendations.

    Thanks,

    Thomasina.

  • #68170
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    I would say there are as many reputable lawyers in Spain as in the UK.

    No more, no less.

    There is a good list available at:

    http://www.spanishpropertyinsight.com/spanish_property_solutions_legal.htm

  • #67970
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    I would say there are as many reputable lawyers in Spain as in the UK.

    No more, no less.

    There is a good list available at:

    http://www.spanishpropertyinsight.com/spanish_property_solutions_legal.htm

  • #68172
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    @Rawlins wrote:

    I would say there are as many reputable lawyers in Spain as in the UK.

    No more, no less.

    There are a lot of people who use this site who would disagree.
    At least in the UK there is a Law Society – there is no equivalent in Spain.
    In the very likely scenario that you get a bad lawyer all you can do is get another, pay again, and cross your fingers.

  • #67972
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    @Rawlins wrote:

    I would say there are as many reputable lawyers in Spain as in the UK.

    No more, no less.

    There are a lot of people who use this site who would disagree.
    At least in the UK there is a Law Society – there is no equivalent in Spain.
    In the very likely scenario that you get a bad lawyer all you can do is get another, pay again, and cross your fingers.

  • #68175
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Tilly – absolutely agree with you.

    The number of stories I personally know of amongst a group of us, involving quite a sizeable number of lawyers/law firms who have blatantly fed clients false information re. their position and rights during the purchase process, as well as not obtaining correct documents required by law such as Bank Guarantees, not replying to e-mails/phone calls etc. is quite shocking. And I do not believe it is a case of these lawyers being ignorant of the law – it is blatantly being in with the developer, and not having their clients’ best interests at heart.
    And this is a group all based in the Marbella region that I know about – goodness knows what goes on elsewhere.

    One of the most common ‘tricks’ of these lawyers is to fail to have their clients’ papers in order, no Bank Guarantee etc., often knowingly involve their client in a hopeless development – then turn round and say to their client if you now want out, we’ll take it to court for you, it’s a bit hopeless because you don’t have a Bank Guarantee but we’ll give it a go – please send us 6000 plus euros to do it.
    Or how about charging 7000 euros at the beginning of a purchase process, total legal fees upfront, then when the development doesn’t get built and all he’s done is sign his name on the initial purchase contract, refuses/goes silent on refunding any of this money.

    But as I always say on this forum – these lawyers are in the minority compared with the amount of brilliant, honest ones.
    The problem is sorting out the goodies from the baddies.

    And size/prestiege of law firm means nothing. Ours for example was a highly-respected international lawfirm linked to one of the top firms in London – and what they did to us incorporates all of the above plus more.

    In my opinion I think Rawlins, on this one, you are living on another planet if you honestly believe that such mass ‘dishonest representation’ linked to downright corruption goes on in England on the same scale.

  • #67975
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Tilly – absolutely agree with you.

    The number of stories I personally know of amongst a group of us, involving quite a sizeable number of lawyers/law firms who have blatantly fed clients false information re. their position and rights during the purchase process, as well as not obtaining correct documents required by law such as Bank Guarantees, not replying to e-mails/phone calls etc. is quite shocking. And I do not believe it is a case of these lawyers being ignorant of the law – it is blatantly being in with the developer, and not having their clients’ best interests at heart.
    And this is a group all based in the Marbella region that I know about – goodness knows what goes on elsewhere.

    One of the most common ‘tricks’ of these lawyers is to fail to have their clients’ papers in order, no Bank Guarantee etc., often knowingly involve their client in a hopeless development – then turn round and say to their client if you now want out, we’ll take it to court for you, it’s a bit hopeless because you don’t have a Bank Guarantee but we’ll give it a go – please send us 6000 plus euros to do it.
    Or how about charging 7000 euros at the beginning of a purchase process, total legal fees upfront, then when the development doesn’t get built and all he’s done is sign his name on the initial purchase contract, refuses/goes silent on refunding any of this money.

    But as I always say on this forum – these lawyers are in the minority compared with the amount of brilliant, honest ones.
    The problem is sorting out the goodies from the baddies.

    And size/prestiege of law firm means nothing. Ours for example was a highly-respected international lawfirm linked to one of the top firms in London – and what they did to us incorporates all of the above plus more.

    In my opinion I think Rawlins, on this one, you are living on another planet if you honestly believe that such mass ‘dishonest representation’ linked to downright corruption goes on in England on the same scale.

  • #68176
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Maybe I am living on a different planet – but it is just up the coast from the CDS.

    Around Valencia, I know half a dozen lawyers that I would trust with my life savings and and I know a couple that I wouldn’t trust with five euros.

    The situation that exists on the Costa del Sol is simply the result of some law firms having a close and long-term relationship with large developers. These lawyers pretend to be working for the buyers but are really on the vendors’ side.

    This is an exceptional situation found only in those coastal hotspots chosen by foreign buyers. This collusion does not exist in the rest of Spain, and so we could, perhaps, be said to be living in a different planet.

    The root of the problem is that naive and uninformed buyers generally accept those lawyers recommended by the agents and developers. In such circumstances, corruption is inevitable.

    I am sure that if thousands of innocently trusting Spanish buyers suddenly started buying property in, say, Kent, and all the buyers used local lawyers recommended by Kentish developers then a similarly corrupt climate would quickly arise.

  • #67976
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Maybe I am living on a different planet – but it is just up the coast from the CDS.

    Around Valencia, I know half a dozen lawyers that I would trust with my life savings and and I know a couple that I wouldn’t trust with five euros.

    The situation that exists on the Costa del Sol is simply the result of some law firms having a close and long-term relationship with large developers. These lawyers pretend to be working for the buyers but are really on the vendors’ side.

    This is an exceptional situation found only in those coastal hotspots chosen by foreign buyers. This collusion does not exist in the rest of Spain, and so we could, perhaps, be said to be living in a different planet.

    The root of the problem is that naive and uninformed buyers generally accept those lawyers recommended by the agents and developers. In such circumstances, corruption is inevitable.

    I am sure that if thousands of innocently trusting Spanish buyers suddenly started buying property in, say, Kent, and all the buyers used local lawyers recommended by Kentish developers then a similarly corrupt climate would quickly arise.

  • #68177
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    @Rawlins wrote:

    Around Valencia, I know half a dozen lawyers that I would trust with my life savings and and I know a couple that I wouldn’t trust with five euros.

    That equates to six lawyers you trust, two you don’t.
    In other words, 25% of the lawyers you are referring to, you wouldn’t trust 😯
    not a very impressive ratio in my opinion.

    We have all read about the recent corruption stories along your part of the coast, including the Town Hall, mayors and right through the system – it is not just the Costa del Sol.

    You say:
    “The root of the problem is that naive and uninformed buyers generally accept those lawyers recommended by the agents and developers”.

    This has often been written on this forum by ‘professionals’ in the property business – which I understand you are – and I for one really resent this attitude.
    I don’t regard myself as naive or uninformed, and like many others I know – we thoroughly researched our development/developer before making our decision.

    At the time of buying in 2003, our developer had recently won an award -presented in London at the Grosvenor Hotel, for best golf appartment in Spain.
    Two years later, after our fight began to get our money back for an appartment they never built as the building licence had been suspended (they never should have received a licence in the first place as it wasn’t in accordance with the Junta’s PGOU plan), I asked the Director how was it they managed to get a BL in the first place and started selling. He openly made a backhanded gesture with his hand and said “back then (2003) things were done differently”.

    The only thing we are guilty of, as Claire once wrote, is not having the hindsight of knowing there was a corrupt mayor (Gil), plus all the other corrupt factors that were going on behind closed doors.

    When one hires a lawyer, he is supposed to be honest and act in his/her client’s interest. Full Stop.
    If he doesn’t, don’t blame the client for being ‘naive’, blame the lawyer for being corrupt.

    As Tilly says, there is The Law Society in the UK which every English lawyer would be very ‘reluctant’ to be reported to. There would be consequences.
    In Spain, the Colegio de Abogados is just an impotent ‘Boys Club’ – which is why these rogue Spanish lawyers know they can get away with their dishonest/corrupt behaviour.

    I’m not trying to make an argument here, Rawlins. I’m just trying to be realistic based on facts I’ve experienced/been told by other purchasers over a long period of time.
    And I stand by what I said – such a mass scale of corruption amongst lawyers would not, in my opinion, happen in England.

  • #67977
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    @Rawlins wrote:

    Around Valencia, I know half a dozen lawyers that I would trust with my life savings and and I know a couple that I wouldn’t trust with five euros.

    That equates to six lawyers you trust, two you don’t.
    In other words, 25% of the lawyers you are referring to, you wouldn’t trust 😯
    not a very impressive ratio in my opinion.

    We have all read about the recent corruption stories along your part of the coast, including the Town Hall, mayors and right through the system – it is not just the Costa del Sol.

    You say:
    “The root of the problem is that naive and uninformed buyers generally accept those lawyers recommended by the agents and developers”.

    This has often been written on this forum by ‘professionals’ in the property business – which I understand you are – and I for one really resent this attitude.
    I don’t regard myself as naive or uninformed, and like many others I know – we thoroughly researched our development/developer before making our decision.

    At the time of buying in 2003, our developer had recently won an award -presented in London at the Grosvenor Hotel, for best golf appartment in Spain.
    Two years later, after our fight began to get our money back for an appartment they never built as the building licence had been suspended (they never should have received a licence in the first place as it wasn’t in accordance with the Junta’s PGOU plan), I asked the Director how was it they managed to get a BL in the first place and started selling. He openly made a backhanded gesture with his hand and said “back then (2003) things were done differently”.

    The only thing we are guilty of, as Claire once wrote, is not having the hindsight of knowing there was a corrupt mayor (Gil), plus all the other corrupt factors that were going on behind closed doors.

    When one hires a lawyer, he is supposed to be honest and act in his/her client’s interest. Full Stop.
    If he doesn’t, don’t blame the client for being ‘naive’, blame the lawyer for being corrupt.

    As Tilly says, there is The Law Society in the UK which every English lawyer would be very ‘reluctant’ to be reported to. There would be consequences.
    In Spain, the Colegio de Abogados is just an impotent ‘Boys Club’ – which is why these rogue Spanish lawyers know they can get away with their dishonest/corrupt behaviour.

    I’m not trying to make an argument here, Rawlins. I’m just trying to be realistic based on facts I’ve experienced/been told by other purchasers over a long period of time.
    And I stand by what I said – such a mass scale of corruption amongst lawyers would not, in my opinion, happen in England.

  • #68178
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    thomasina –
    apologies, have contributed to making your thread go totally off-topic.
    OliverB’s advice is absolutely spot-on, without an ‘independent’ lawyer you will get nowhere.
    Wishing you good luck, and hope all gets resolved.

  • #67978
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    thomasina –
    apologies, have contributed to making your thread go totally off-topic.
    OliverB’s advice is absolutely spot-on, without an ‘independent’ lawyer you will get nowhere.
    Wishing you good luck, and hope all gets resolved.

  • #68186
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    All sound advice/opinions from OliverB and Charlie as I see it.

    I am on my fourth company of abogados having jumped from the frying pan into the fire and then into the jaws of a shark.

    Although I am not proud of some traits in my character which range from cynic through sceptic to pessimist with a hint of control freak and a dash of OCD (and not always in that order), I have eventually found through months of anguish a solicitor who seems at last to be doing things for MY benefit and not himself or the developer.

    But heck it’s early days yet , I have only been waiting since Dember 2003 and still waiting for the full planning permission to come through.

    If at first you don’t suceed….. sue the S**T !

  • #67986
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    All sound advice/opinions from OliverB and Charlie as I see it.

    I am on my fourth company of abogados having jumped from the frying pan into the fire and then into the jaws of a shark.

    Although I am not proud of some traits in my character which range from cynic through sceptic to pessimist with a hint of control freak and a dash of OCD (and not always in that order), I have eventually found through months of anguish a solicitor who seems at last to be doing things for MY benefit and not himself or the developer.

    But heck it’s early days yet , I have only been waiting since Dember 2003 and still waiting for the full planning permission to come through.

    If at first you don’t suceed….. sue the S**T !

  • #68188
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    @charlie wrote:

    @Rawlins wrote:

    This has often been written on this forum by ‘professionals’ in the property business – which I understand you are – and I for one really resent this attitude.
    I don’t regard myself as naive or uninformed, and like many others I know – we thoroughly researched our development/developer before making our decision.

    I am sorry if you feel offended by my comments, as I did not intend to cause resentment or offence. I had meant to say that most buyers are naive and uninformed and, obviously, there are some buyers who do their homework and still come unstuck.

    As a professional in the business, I constantly meet would-be British buyers who are ignorant of the very basics of property purchasing and completely vulnerable to unscrupulous traders. I also meet buyers who have prepared themselves – but they are a minority.

    Generally speaking, British buyers from a professional, academic, or business background are usually better informed and more wary than others.

    While uninformed buyers using bent lawyers are generating an enormous problem in some areas, I do agree with you that it is the lawyers who should be held responsible inasmuch that they betrayed a trust that was, however naively, placed in them.

  • #67988
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    @charlie wrote:

    @Rawlins wrote:

    This has often been written on this forum by ‘professionals’ in the property business – which I understand you are – and I for one really resent this attitude.
    I don’t regard myself as naive or uninformed, and like many others I know – we thoroughly researched our development/developer before making our decision.

    I am sorry if you feel offended by my comments, as I did not intend to cause resentment or offence. I had meant to say that most buyers are naive and uninformed and, obviously, there are some buyers who do their homework and still come unstuck.

    As a professional in the business, I constantly meet would-be British buyers who are ignorant of the very basics of property purchasing and completely vulnerable to unscrupulous traders. I also meet buyers who have prepared themselves – but they are a minority.

    Generally speaking, British buyers from a professional, academic, or business background are usually better informed and more wary than others.

    While uninformed buyers using bent lawyers are generating an enormous problem in some areas, I do agree with you that it is the lawyers who should be held responsible inasmuch that they betrayed a trust that was, however naively, placed in them.

  • #68192
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Rawlins

    …..just for the record, i am another one in your minority? Homework done as far as possible after contacting agent 5 min walk from my office.

    Yes we did use their advised lawyer, 5 years ago that seemed reasonable after making enquiries. In the U.K it’s not unreasonable to trust a lawyer working for you. This was our mistake. Our case is still ongoing, but it looks like we were lied to not only by the U.K agent, but the developers and Spanish lawyers recommended by our u.k agents. U.K law is far from perfect, but at least if you have the misfortune to be conned by a developer or lawyer, you have various bodies to complain to before having to resort to a lawyer, which i guess is why it happens less in the U.K. Previous to this, as far as i know, i have never been lied to by a lawyer working for me! I do not wish to insult honest Spanish developers/agents/lawyers, but untill the dishonest one’s are punished and are seen to be punished harshly for there bad deeds, how are people in the U.K supposed to trust anyone involved in the Spanish legal system apart from perphaps word of mouth from someone you know you can trust?

  • #67992
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Rawlins

    …..just for the record, i am another one in your minority? Homework done as far as possible after contacting agent 5 min walk from my office.

    Yes we did use their advised lawyer, 5 years ago that seemed reasonable after making enquiries. In the U.K it’s not unreasonable to trust a lawyer working for you. This was our mistake. Our case is still ongoing, but it looks like we were lied to not only by the U.K agent, but the developers and Spanish lawyers recommended by our u.k agents. U.K law is far from perfect, but at least if you have the misfortune to be conned by a developer or lawyer, you have various bodies to complain to before having to resort to a lawyer, which i guess is why it happens less in the U.K. Previous to this, as far as i know, i have never been lied to by a lawyer working for me! I do not wish to insult honest Spanish developers/agents/lawyers, but untill the dishonest one’s are punished and are seen to be punished harshly for there bad deeds, how are people in the U.K supposed to trust anyone involved in the Spanish legal system apart from perphaps word of mouth from someone you know you can trust?

  • #68326
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Thomasina

    Sorry to read about your problems.

    I too have had bad dealings with Atlas. They are good at portraying an image of respectability, but underneath the situation is far different.
    I assume from your thread that they used the defence under the second clause on the reservation;

    `This reservation is made on behalf of the builder and Atlas International remains exempt from any responsability`

    This has always been their get-out clause when the preverbial hits the fan.
    I know that the following does not directly apply to your problem, but it should demonstrate Atlas’ connection with the deal.

    If you read the clause that follows it;

    `The deposit is not refundable but will be held to your credit on an alternative property should you cancel this purchase, for a period of 2 years.`

    What this clause may do, in a way, is to tie Atlas as a third party to the contract, as they have shown to have an `personal interest`. Under the `Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999`,

    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1999/19990031.htm

    (5) For the purpose of exercising his right to enforce a term of the contract, there shall be available to the third party any remedy that would have been available to him in an action for breach of contract if he had been a party to the contract (and the rules relating to damages, injunctions, specific performance and other relief shall apply accordingly).

    If this can be proved, then it is fair to assume that Atlas are partly responsible and can be sued as in the case of a principal of the contract.

    Best wishes and good luck for the future.

    Tony

  • #89519
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Many stories coming in about this lot – and they all name the same lawyer.

    Have a read of this:
    http://www.spanishpropertyscandalpetition.co.uk/6.html

    Scroll down to the final story; ‘Mr & Mrs A. Spain’

  • #89319
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Many stories coming in about this lot – and they all name the same lawyer.

    Have a read of this:
    http://www.spanishpropertyscandalpetition.co.uk/6.html

    Scroll down to the final story; ‘Mr & Mrs A. Spain’

  • #89522
    Profile photo of Melosine
    Melosine
    Participant

    Suzanne,
    Could you not list Atlas International of Dorking,Surrey and the other British based agents involved when you hand in your petition.

  • #89322
    Profile photo of Melosine
    Melosine
    Participant

    Suzanne,
    Could you not list Atlas International of Dorking,Surrey and the other British based agents involved when you hand in your petition.

  • #89524
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    Anonymous
    Participant

    Hello Melosine,

    Absolutely ❗ And Atlas are not on their own.

    ALL the agents are named.
    ALL the developers are named.

    And ALL the lawyers are named, who were clearly part of this Triangle of Corruption, & have been added to the Lawyer Complaints Document (accompanying Our Petition), when specifically requested to do so, with the relevant & valid details.

    As you know, Our Petition is much more than a list of names. It is a full dossier of facts in the words of each person who has signed. It’s weighty, hard-hitting & will not be ignored.

    http://www.spanishpropertyscandalpetition.co.uk

  • #89324
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Hello Melosine,

    Absolutely ❗ And Atlas are not on their own.

    ALL the agents are named.
    ALL the developers are named.

    And ALL the lawyers are named, who were clearly part of this Triangle of Corruption, & have been added to the Lawyer Complaints Document (accompanying Our Petition), when specifically requested to do so, with the relevant & valid details.

    As you know, Our Petition is much more than a list of names. It is a full dossier of facts in the words of each person who has signed. It’s weighty, hard-hitting & will not be ignored.

    http://www.spanishpropertyscandalpetition.co.uk

  • #89525
    Profile photo of Melosine
    Melosine
    Participant

    Thought that was the case Suzanne. Brown and Co. must NOT be allowed to wriggle out of the British involvement of this very disgraceful affair.

  • #89325
    Profile photo of Melosine
    Melosine
    Participant

    Thought that was the case Suzanne. Brown and Co. must NOT be allowed to wriggle out of the British involvement of this very disgraceful affair.

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