Brit Tried in Majorca over Bulgarian Property Fraud

Crime | June 15, 2010, Tuesday // 15:56|  views

Paul Charleston, a British national, is accused of being a ringleader in an alleged scam in which nonexistent Bulgarian property company's shares were sold on the Spanish island. File photo

The authorities in Majorca are set to begin this week a trial against a British national charged with selling nonexistent properties in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR, reports.

Investors became suspicious when the real estate company cut all communications with them.

Paul Charleston is the leader of a croup dealing with the sale of nonexistent properties to over 35 other Brits, residing in Majorca. The fraud victims, mostly retirees, were convinced to invest their savings in a business, claiming to be the developer of 18 000 luxury apartments in Bulgaria. The glossy brochure boasted pictures of hotels, golf courses and ski tracks, but the truth was revealed when one of the investors hired a private eye to investigate the company with the name “Black Sea Investments.”

In November 2008, Paul Charleston, 45, of Leigh, was taken into custody by Majorcan police, along with another Briton – Donna Marie Messe, 38, a Spaniard and a Canadian. Detectives from the National Police Economic Crime unit carried out the operation, codenamed Operation Sofia.

The Spanish Prosecutor says the group received over EUR 7 M that evaporated through offshore companies from Bulgaria to Morocco.

The maximum verdict they face is 14 years of jail time.

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Tags: property fraud, Majorca


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