Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bag a Bargain in the UK

In these days when bad, bad news seems to rain down on us like, well rain really, it is nice to see that someone can still look on the bright side. All this doom and gloom has meant that anyone with a few bob to spend is now at an 'all you can eat' buffet. Nowhere is this more the case than in the UK where property prices have been tumbling at an incredible rate. Of course that is only part of the story with the UK, the dramatic slide in the value of Sterling v's the Euro has meant that this is the single biggest buying opportunity that those with an interest in property across the water are ever likely to see.

There is a very interesting article on the site about the potential for realising value in the UK market.

From the article: "The huge rise in repossessions in the UK represents a significant opportunity and distressed property in general is where the market is now. According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders the number of properties repossessed in the first half of 2008 was up 48% on the same period the previous year: the figures are expected to rise to over 70% by the end of the year. Thousands of home owners, investors, developers and banks are in financial difficulties and are desperate to sell all sorts of different properties. Most want cash as quickly as possible and are often willing to accept huge discounts. Banks, of course, are particularly desperate for cash as they try to rebuild their balance sheets, but this situation won’t last indefinitely. The banks are already under significant pressure from the government to increase lending and liquidity is likely to ease further as interest rates fall. Investors should capitalise on this window of opportunity."

It's a very interesting piece and well worth a view if you've any interest in UK property or purchasing value in the market. To view the full article click here. If you couldn't be bothered reading it but would still like to be sent some listings of foreclosed, below market value (BMV) or simply very good value product in the UK, just fill in this form and we'll do the rest.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Ciaran Maguire Story Features in Sunday Tribune

The saga of the Ciarán Maguire Group (CMG) and its proposed Palm View Resort development in Cape Verde featured on page 10 in the news section of the Sunday Tribune yesterday. This in itself is nothing exceptional, the story was bound to feed into the media at some stage. What is odd is that OverseasCafe.com is quoted liberally in the piece, despite the fact that the website has never been contacted by the Sunday Tribune in relation to this topic. It is also made to look like the OverseasCafe.com has been threatened with legal action or had legal action taken against it by CMG, which is not the case.

It looks awfully like the journalist, Mark Hilliard, got the piece predominantly from putting together pieces from our previous blogs on the subject. There's nothing particularly wrong with this, but if we were to be quoted, it would have been nice to have a phone call or an email. CMG is quoted as well and we have no idea if they were contacted either. We didn't like to ask.

Anyhow, here's the piece for those who haven't seen it.

Property developer takes legal advice on website hosts
Mark Hilliard

AN exclusive Irish overseas developer has launched legal proceedings against a number of website hosts over highly critical remarks on a €2.2bn seven star resort planned for Cape Verde.

The Dublin based Ciaran Maguire Group has taken the action over what it deems to be "highly offensive" remarks made about its property development which is currently seeking investors.

The Palm View Resort in Cape Verde, off the western coast of North Africa, is comprised of hotels, a golf course, villas and apartments. As part of the high end scheme, the group has also announced plans to lease two Boeing 737 aircrafts for at least four years which will operate from Dublin, Manchester and London Gatwick airports.

Investors are invited to use exchange bonds as an alternative to cash deposits on the properties whose reservation fees run from €10,000 for a studio to €50,000 for a villa.

However, in recent weeks question marks began to appear around details of the development on a number of property related websites, blogs and forums.

When approached by the Irish website Overseas cafe. com to clarify many of the questions being raised, Flash Developments – an arm of the Ciaran Maguire Group – responded by confirming that legal action was now being sought.

"We have been made aware that numerous blogs and web forums that are posted in relation to Ciaran Maguire, Flash Developments and the Palm View Resort have gone past the point of asking questions and gone into the category of what we and our lawyers believe to be defamatory content," they said in a statement. 

"We have started legal proceedings against the identified hosts of these websites."

Although it is not clear which internet sites will be issued with legal proceedings, the workings of the Ciaran Maguire Group have been openly discussed on several popular forums.

The contact came in response to an earlier article on the website which alluded to the "very sudden" emergence of an Irish overseas property developer which they said was relatively unknown and seemingly prepared to operate in a very difficult economic environment.

"At a time when most newspapers couldn't sell an ad to save their lives, along comes Ciaran and his group and starts advertising liberally," Overseascafe.com claimed.

HAVE TO CUT FROM HERE (the piece below this only appears in the online version)

Contact between the site and the developers led to the tabling of over 50 questions, based on those same concerns that had fuelled recent internet debate.

Amongst the questions, the group was asked to clarify where it had suddenly come from, whether it actually owned land in Cape Verde, why the development was moved from its original location and whether or not there was even any access to the site.

Another question asked for clarification on exactly what 'star level' the development will have.

The Ciaran Maguire Group responded to a number of 'relevant' questions explaining that they had entered into an officially documented deal to purchase 98,000sq m of land from a Mr Martiano Oliveria and that they changed from the original site due to delays in processing paperwork. 

They clarified that a local company, Loids Engineers, have been engaged to begin work which should commence next year and that Flash Developments would extend a coastal road leading to the site. 

In relation to the star system, they wrote: "Different countries have different legislation in respect of this rating, Palm View is being listed as a seven star development in accordance with Cape Verdean legislation." 

"It has always been our goal to develop one of the world's most luxurious resorts and we are confident that we will achieve our goal.

"Some of the information being hosted and posted (on the sites) is deemed by Flash Developments to be highly offensive. We are outraged by allegations concerning our credibility, integrity, bona fides and business acumen skills."

December 21, 2008

You'll find the original story here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ryanair Bid for Aer Lingus

OK, so the Ryanair bid for Aer Lingus is old hat at this stage, even the second offer, which, based on Aer Lingus' current share price of €1.45, is obviously a long way short of its original offer, which was made at €2.80. It is a sign of the times and the amazing change in fortunes of the Irish government in the intervening two years that the government is now 'contemplating' accepting an offer that is almost 50% of the last one, which it deemed to be inadequate.

In case you're out of the loop on the current Ryanair bid for its rival Irish airline, here is a brief recap from France 24.

"Irish low-fare airline Ryanair said Monday it had launched a 748-million-euro (950-million-dollar) offer for rival Aer Lingus, in which it already has a near 30-percent stake.

The offer is a renewed bid by Ryanair after the group was refused ownership of Aer Lingus in 2006 on competition grounds.

"The board of Ryanair proposes to merge the two airlines into one strong Irish airline group under common ownership," Ryanair said in a statement.

It added: "Both airlines would operate as separate companies, with distinctive brands, thereby preserving the best features of both."

Ryanair failed in a bid to buy Aer Lingus in 2006 after the latter had been partly floated on the London and Dublin stock exchanges.

The bid had faced stiff opposition from major Aer Lingus shareholders, including the Irish government, company employees, pilots and their pension fund.

In December 2006, Ryanair withdrew its takeover bid after European regulators launched an in-depth competition probe.

The European Commission vetoed the takeover on the grounds that the merger of Ireland's two biggest airlines would have given the combined carrier a crushing grip on 35 routes."

The question we would have to ask, as an overseas property portal, is obviously whether a merger of our two main airlines is in the best interests of Irish travelling consumers or not. When all is said and done it is difficult to see how a single airline entity, particularly one as focussed on cutting costs as Ryanair is, could do anything other than remove all that is good in Aer Lingus and leave just a hollow shell.

You have to hand it to Michael O'Leary, he's a hell of a businessman - whether you love him or loathe him. He and his team probably deserves a lot more credit than they've ever been given for taking Ryanair from the bottomless money pit that it had been into one of the world's most profitable airlines (one of very few that actually makes a profit). But for all that you would have to remember that, being such a canny businessman, O'Leary isn't chasing Aer Lingus for the good of his health or simply to offer more people cheaper flights. It is widely known that all he wants out of this deal is access to Aer Lingus' more lucrative landing slots, particularly at currently impregnable UK and US airports.

O'Leary understands better than anyone that an airline only works if it's got a 'destination'. In Dublin, and particularly London, he's got two such destinations that will attract traffic. He also understands that Dublin will probably attract proportionally less traffic in the coming years, whereas cities like London and New York will hold their own a lot better. In tougher economic times Ryanair could actually make hay offering cheap flights to main hub airports as no other airline can match its low cost base. Unfortunately for O'Leary, his current London hub is Standsted, which with the best will and cheapest flights in the world is not the London airport to which most people wish to fly. He needs access to Heathrow, and Aer Lingus is the key to this access. At current market valuation this would seem like a very opportune moment to make a predatory bid. Although Ryanair has been absolutely slaughtered on its 30% stake in Aer Lingus, most of which was purchased between €2.50 and €2.80 per share, it has very deep pockets and will simply write it off as an investment in the future. If O'Leary can convice the government to sell its 25% share close to current values he would consider that Ryanair has, overall, made a very wise investment. And he'd probably be right.

The upshot would be that we would initially end up with a schizophrenic Ryanair, keeping costs down assiduously in its original entity and firefighting the unions on the Aer Lingus side. This would obviously not be good for the Aer Lingus side of the equation and you can be sure that this portion of the company would be radically restructured. Eventually it would be subsumed into Ryanair, with the excuse that it was not profitable as it stood. Aer Lingus would exist in name only and Michael O'Leary would have achieved the object of his unquenchable lust - Ireland's flagship carrier - the bane of his life in his early years at Ryanair. What a trophy.

With the best will in the world there is a certain cheapness and nastiness about Ryanair, which O'Leary admits probably reflects his own personality somewhat. Having that ethos seep into Aer Lingus would not be an attractive prospect. At the moment we have a balance - cheap and cheerless v's more expensive but with at least a passing nod to customer service. The two can, and should be allowed to, survive side by side.

Aer Lingus is by no means perfect, but for all that it is Aer Lingus and if its ownership should ever transfer to Ryanair it will be Aer Lingus no more, and that would be a huge loss to Ireland. The country needs a strong Aer Lingus as much as it needs a strong Ryanair. What we need is for the two of them to compete viably for routes to bring extra passengers to and from Ireland.

As an aside, Ryanair will be absolutely cock-a-hoop that it has won its battle against the European Commission (another of O'Leary's foes) on the terms of its agreement with Waloon regional airport, Charleroi (usually referred to by Ryanair as Brussels). You can see a report on this from RTE here.

"In its judgment the Court of First Instance said: 'The Commission's refusal to examine together the advantages granted by the Walloon region and by Charleroi Airport, and to determine whether, taken together, those two entities acted as rational operators in a market economy, is vitiated by an error in law.'"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Humber Valley Declares Bankruptcy

Those of you who have read our previous blog on the precarious financial situation at the Humber Valley Resort (HVR) near Corner Brook in Newfoundland, will not be surprised to hear that the company has officially declared bankruptcy.

Below is the announcement from Newfound NV (thanks to Crazy About Newfoundland for this):

December 2nd, 2008
Humber Valley Resort Corporation

Dear Owner,

You may recall from our presentation and earlier correspondence that, during the time Newfound has been financing the CCAA process, we also formulated a draft preliminary plan of arrangement that, in our view, gave the interested parties i.e. the creditors and the chalet owners the best result in the unhappy circumstances that Humber Valley Resort Corporation found itself in.

The plan that we had put forward asked the Government of Newfoundland to support it in 3 areas, namely;

* To assist in bringing flights into Newfoundland from the UK

* To work with the local Municipality in their takeover of running essential services on the resort

* Transferring into freehold, the amount of leasehold land that HVRC had already paid leasehold fees on, so that financing of new development could take place enabling the creditors to participate in the resultant profits.

It was not feasible to submit our proposed plan to the Court for approval, or to the creditors and chalet owners to vote on, unless we had some indication of support from the Government, in writing, to it. Conditional support would have been acceptable. The Government have had our proposal for consideration since 16 October. Whilst it is fair to say that we have had encouraging discussions, we have had no confirmation of the Government position, either verbally or in writing. Our initial requested deadline for a decision was 14 November.

I was promised on Monday 24 November that, after the Cabinet meeting of 27 November I would be informed of the decision, either way, in writing. I explained during that conversation that we had run out of time as our CCAA protection was due to expire and if I could not submit the plan then I would have no choice other than to withdraw our proposal, which would mean imminent bankruptcy for HVRC. The alternative would be for Newfound to risk a great deal more money as a creditor to HVRC and I do not have Board authority to do so. I was very careful to stress to the Government on Monday 24 November, that I wanted to and was able to continue, but was clear that close of business on Friday 28 November was our absolute deadline for a Government reply.

This was, sadly, not forthcoming. I understand, from a third party, that the proposition was discussed as cabinet but there was no resolution. Despite our best efforts, there is nothing further we can do. I am deeply disappointed, as I still believe our ideas were the best possible result in the circumstances.

In these circumstances, I am afraid that we join you all as another creditor, and confirm that HVRC will have to file an Assignment in Bankruptcy, and that bankruptcy is now imminent. I am so sorry not to bring you better news. Should you have any questions, you may, with immediate effect, address them to Mat Harris and his team at Ernst and Young. Derrick White will no longer be in a position to formally help you.

Yours sincerely,
Jayne McGivern
CEO Newfound NV

Oddly enough if you visit the Newfound website you will still find the company extolling the virtues of the Humber Valley Resort. In the investor relations section it states:

"Newfound is a creator and operator of international luxury resorts and destinations. The Company has a high quality portfolio of resort projects at Humber Valley in Canada and in Nevis and St. Kitts in the Caribbean.

Humber Valley Resort, with 2,200 acres, currently has over 200 privately owned properties the majority of which are available for rent. It is an all-season, luxury resort offering golf, world-class salmon fishing, sailing, skiing and a luxury spa.

Newfound has an integrated business model based on destination master-planning, which generates revenues from multiple sources, including freehold land sales, construction and development, services to owners, the provision of leisure activities and the operation of concessions. Newfound is building an industry leading, world-class luxury lifestyle brand offering exceptional holiday experiences in luxurious homes, situated in locations of outstanding natural beauty.

Newfound's shares commenced trading on AIM on September 26, 2006. Newfound N.V. is incorporated in the Netherlands with operations in Canada, St Kitts & Nevis, UK, USA, Netherlands and Germany. "

It is possibly time to take all this waffle off the site as the company, while it may have an 'integrated business model', very obviously doesn't have a business model that works in this day and age.

According to the Resorts section of the Newfound site:

"To date, Humber Valley Resort has sold over 400 vacation properties to buyers from the UK, Ireland, Europe, the US and mainland Canada. More than 200 chalets are completed with several others under construction. In addition, the resort has recently released a number of beautifully finished and extremely spacious one- and two-bedroom apartments. The majority of properties are available for holiday rental and benefit from first-class services and amenities including fine-quality appliances, furnishings and linens, whirlpool baths, saunas and outdoor hot tubs."

The board of Newfound are:

Jayne McGivern, Chief Executive Officer
Stephen Bentley, Group Finance Director
Richard Foley, Development Director
John Morgan, Interim Chairman
Robert Weisz, Non-Executive Director

The closure of the Humber Valley Resort is a great shame as it was a wonderful place to visit and will be a great loss to the Corner Brook area of Newfoundland. It is also obviously a time of great distress to owners of property on the resort, some of whom lived there full time, who bought into the dream only for it all to dissipate in front of their eyes.

Should this bankruptcy affect you in any way Newfound can be contacted at its Global Corporate Office:

42 Bruton Place, London W1J 6PA
Telephone +44 (0) 20 7892 8300
Fax +44 (0) 20 7892 8301
Email: headoffice@newfoundnv.com

If you are looking for updates on the Humber Valley story you'll find Gary Kelly's blog and the Crazy about Newfoundland blog to be exceptional resources.

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Canadian Property Links

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fortuna Estates Raided by Fraud Squad

It would appear that rumours bubbling under the surface about the company best known as Fortuna Estates have proven to be correct judging by events last week.

Mark Stucklin reports in his Spanish Property Insight website: "The Spanish land investment scam run for years by Fortuna Estates has finally been busted, with the Spanish fraud squad swooping last week on several office in Mijas and Fuengirola, arresting at least 2 people, and questioning 20 others. This could be one of the biggest Spanish property scams to date, with hundreds, if not thousands of British and Irish victims. The Spanish authorities estimate that Fortuna Estates made at least 65 million Euros out of this fraud."

The company ran its operations over the past number of years under a range of pseudonyms including Fortuna Land, Euroland, Sol y Nieve, BPA Blueskies and ultimately Oanna Group. It sold a number of land developments including Bella Fortuna, Sierra Fortuna and Cazadores Reales. Investors were informed that the companies had submitted planning applications for a number of projects including hotels, a wedding chapel, a retirement home and a solar farm.

The Spanish press has reported that there could be more than 2,000 victims, mainly middle class investors from the United Kingdom and Ireland. The company's modus operandi was to promise victims high returns based on land reclassification on projects purported to be in operation in rural Andalucia. Many of Fortuna’s victims invested the minimum amount allowed, which was €10,000, but many others will have invested far more substantial sums than this.

Fortuna Estates first appeared on our radar in 2002 and has, since that time, been an ever present at multi-agency exhibitions across Ireland and the UK. The company also ran high profile marketing campaigns in the press. It denied strenuously that it was a 'boiler room' operation (a telesales office set up simply to promote a useless/fraudulent investment vehicle), an accusation that had been made against the company on the back of many similar scams relating to land banking operations in the UK.

Fortuna offered clients ‘shares’ in greenfield projects purporting to turn land in out-of-the-way parts of Andalucia into commercial property investments. It is not yet clear how many Irish investors are affected, but it will certainly run to many hundreds.

Mark Stucklin also reports: "The Fortuna Land scam was run out of offices on the Costa del Sol using companies registered in places like Cyprus and Delaware (USA). Currently the Fortuna Land website (fortunaland.es), claims they have “implemented a strategic relationship with The Oanna Group to realise your investment projects in Spain,” and instruct visitors to direct all future communications to oannagroup.com. The Oanna Group appears to have its main office in London.

In November clients visiting the Oanna Group website were informed that the company had moved its "international office from Spain to the UK" claiming "it previously provided outsourcing services to clients on mainland Spain through offices owned by Fortunaland SL." The notice went on to say that "with the downturn in markets it has not proved feasible to maintain separate offices" and was "focusing on centralising activities from the UK." It also claimed "that there are significantly better opportunities to access capital in London." It said that those who had been dealing with Fortunaland SL should direct their enquiries to "their management / representatives and/or company lawyers."

The address given was: Oanna Group UK Office, 3 More London Riverside, London SE1 2RE with a phone number of 0203 283 4090. The notice finished with the following statement: "With the onset of the credit crunch there are a number of lucrative opportunities in commercial and residential property worldwide. We are also developing some exclusive distressed property products and will provide our customers and clients access to these products. Please refer to the website www.oannagroup.com for further updates."

The Spanish police think that the main directors have already moved overseas. In a cruel final insult Fortuna Estates' investors are now being targeted by a new scam. This particular ruse involves a company contacting investors promising to attempt to recover money paid to Fortuna/Oanna for a fee of 10% of the original investment, paid in advance of course. The company involved in this particular operation is called European Mediation and has an address at Jaguar House, 6 Harthill Street, Manchester, M8 8AG.

When contacted by OverseasCafe.com questioning how it had managed to come by Fortuna Estates' client database European Mediation gave the following response:

"Our service is to mediate where there has been a dispute which has come to an impass (sic). Clearly we must maintain confidentially (sic) at all times, as required by the rules of data protection. But also by keeping matters out of the public domain we are able to be more effective. Due to the nature of our business we trust you understand the Companies (sic) response."

Indeed we, and others, do understand the company's response all too well.

You'll find a number of forums and articles discussing this issue, here are a few:

Fool.co.uk - scroll to the end of the article

Fool.co.uk - supplementary message board set up for Oanna victims as comment system on previous link reached capacity.

Investment Property Rumours - Excellent background on this scam

BeLegal thread on Oanna/Fortuna

BeLegal thread on European Mediation

El Pais - Article in Spanish

Sunday Times - Case study on Chris Redford, organiser of the UK Client's group.

Client groups exist in Ireland and the UK, you'll get full information if you email afle9876@iol.ie (Ireland) or chrisredford@aol.com (UK).

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Indian Investors with Larionovo

Further to our previous blog on Irish overseas property agent, Larionovo, going into receivership, investors in the company's Indian developments will have been met with somewhat of a surprise this morning to find the following updated message on the company's website.

"Please be advised that Paul McCann was appointed Provisional Liquidator of Larionovo Limited on Tuesday 25th November 2008. If you have invested in a property development through Larionovo Limited but have not completed the purchase, please email ian.barrett@grantthornton.ie the following details:

1) Name
2) Address
3) e-mail contact details
4) Amount of money invested
5) Name of development

Kindly note that we will contact you by email by 12 December 2008 with an update on the position.

With regard to investors in the Indian development project the developer has indicated that he will return deposits to Larionovo Limited to be held in trust for investors. On receipt of these funds the Provisional Liquidator will in turn arrange for these funds to be returned directly to investors."

This final paragraph is worrying investors in the three Indian developments (Hill View, Cape Corinth & Green Valley) greatly as they have a number of fears. Firstly they feel that the money will merely be merged with the other debts of the company and never be seen by investors, despite assurances from Grant Thornton that this will not happen. They also feel that not all funds may have been transferred to India to begin with and that this will, obviously, affect the amount that may subsequently be returned to investors. The group has tried to get the liquidator to speak to them on this issue with no success to date.

An independent buyers group has also been formed for those with issues regarding Larionovo's Indian products. For further information email Karen Marshall on karen@maka.ie.


On Sunday January 18th 2009 the following piece appeared in the Sunday Times under the heading:

Agent borrowed €1m

The liquidator of Larionovo, the defunct estate agency, is investigating loans taken out by Ray Norton, the co-founder.

An Irish estate agent whose firm went into liquidation in November, leaving hundreds of buyers of overseas property out of pocket, took out “significant” director’s loans beforehand.

Ray Norton, who co-founded Larionovo with his brother-in-law, Andrew Brett, is understood to have borrowed more than ¤1m since mid-2007. A “large proportion” of this was loaned to Norton in the final six months of last year when the company’s business was drying up.

Grant Thornton, the company’s liquidator, is seeking a meeting with Norton to establish whether he took out the loans while he was aware Larionovo was nearing insolvency. The liquidator, which was appointed by a creditor, has said Norton’s firm sold few, if any, properties in the final six months of last year. It also wants to know why the company collapsed so abruptly given that its most recently filed accounts, for August 2007, showed reserved profits of more than €2m.

Investors who paid deposits on Indian apartments that were never built held meetings last week to establish how to recoup the estimated ¤4m they are owed. More than 300 Irish people, including a senior garda and a retired solicitor, invested in properties in Mumbai, India’s commercial capital. Sums deposited range from €5,000 to €112,000, with many buyers reserving multiple units, said Karen Marshall, speaking for the investors.

“We were told last year that we would all get our money back because the scheme wasn’t going ahead,” she said. “Larionovo said that there were problems with property rights for foreigners in India and difficulties with repatriating money out of India.”

About 30 investors got some or all of their money in the summer, but remaining buyers have had no contact from Larionovo since last month. The investors established that the money sent to Sigrun, the builder of the scheme in India, was returned. “We have a money trail leading to a company in Dubai called Profile, in which directors of Larionovo are involved,” Marshall said.

Norton, 38, and Brett, 48, are majority shareholders in the Profile Group and are directors of Profile Property in Ireland. Grant Thornton is trying to organise a meeting with Profile’s directors in Dubai.

Norton and Brett, who both live in Ennis, Co Clare, could not be contacted for comment.

You'll find the story in the Sunday Times here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

UK Property Prices Tumble

A recent report by Knight Frank has said that prime residential prices in central London fell by 3.6% in November, the second largest fall on record after the decline of 3.9% recorded in October. This latest decline in prices leaves them 14.1% lower than this time last year, having fallen by 9.3% over the last three months alone.

According to the report all areas and property types have been hit by falling prices but houses are depreciating at a faster rate than flats. 

On the upside for agents in the UK the weak pound is beginning to re-stimulate foreign interest in prime London property, an interest which had fallen off greatly over the past year.

Liam Bailey of Knight Frank commented: “These dramatic falls may be painful to vendors, but prime London property is increasingly looking like very good value, particularly to foreign buyers who also benefit from the weak pound. Indeed, a fall of 15% may translate to a fall of as much as 35% to someone watching the market from the USA, as the pound has fallen by 20% against the dollar since the beginning of the year. There has been a increase in interest from such buyers over the past few weeks, which has not yet been translated into activity."

You'll find the full story, with a month by month price fall breakdown, on our website here

There is also an interesting piece in London's Evening Standard on the 'Return of the £100,000 home." It is a run down of prices at a Lodon auction house where "18 lots changed hands for £100,000 or less, an extraordinary total given that only 42 homes were sold in the whole of London in this price bracket in August."

You'll find the full article here

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Larionovo Goes into Receivership

The Irish overseas property industry will be left reeling by another high profile casualty of the current economic crisis and the severe downturn in the Irish economy.

Well known Clare based overseas property agent, Larionovo, shut its doors for the last time on Tuesday evening and let go its 11 staff members based in Ennis and Baggot St., Dublin. The company was formed seven years ago by brother-in-law pairing Raymond Norton and Andrew Brett and had sold vast quantities of product in areas as diverse as Dubai, Hungary, Spain, France, India and Portugal.

The company was well known for its high profile campaigns on TV, radio and in the press, taking the sale of overseas property by an Irish company to a new level. Unfortunately, under current financial realities the company's business model would appear to have become redundant.

It's most high profile market was undoubtedly Dubai, where it strongly marketed developments in Dubai Sports City. The company featured on the front page of the property section of the Sunday Independent, edited by John O'Keeffe, on an extremely regular basis. It is generally accepted that the company had many hundreds of Irish buyers.

Larionovo has spent a good deal of time in the limelight recently for the wrong reasons. It was involved in somewhat of a furore back in July when the Irish Independent published an article declaring "... Larionova, the biggest and most high profile of the Irish foreign property agents, is also to shut up shop, amid difficulties getting payment from developers." Larionovo denied the allegations very strenuously and an apology was forthcoming from the newspaper but it's goose has since been cooked. No doubt the Indo will be anxious to report on the current chain of events.

The company was also the main Irish agent for Martinsa-Fadesa, the giant Spanish builder which filed for bankruptcy during the summer.

Larionovo has also been the source of much frustration, vented liberally on the Joe Duffy show last week, with relation to several projects in India that it decided to abandon. Purchasers in the Green Valley, Hill View and Cape Corinth projects, by developer Sigrun, have been promised refunds of their initial deposits, but many have not materialised yet and investors are, understandably, getting very worried. The subject is also the cause of much posting on various threads on the Ask About Money forum.

Larionovo's demise should not actually make much difference to clients who bought through them, as the company didn't build any property. All contracts should be with the developers from whom the property was bought and so, presuming the developers are capable of building the projects, should still complete. Clients will, however, obviously not receive any supplementary services which might have been provided by the agent such as furnishing, rentals, etc. There is also the worry that, with the agent now out of the loop, Sigrun may decide not to refund deposits collected by it. Only time will tell.

The receiver appointed is Grant Thornton. The message at time of posting, being shown on the Larionovo homepage is:

"Please be advised that Paul McCann was appointed Provisional Liquidator of Larionovo Limited on Tuesday November 25th. We are currently trying to establish the position of the investors with regard to the Indian development project. Please email ian.barrett@grantthornton.ie the following details:

Your: 1) Name
2) Address
3) e-mail details
4) Amount of money invested

Kindly note that we will contact you by email by 12 December 2008 with an update on the position."

An independent buyers group has also been formed for those with issues regarding Larionovo's Indian products. For further information email Karen Marshall on karen@maka.ie.

Any way you look at it this is another large nail in the Irish overseas property industry coffin which leaves no doubt as to just how fragile the market is at this point in time.

This isn't the end for Norton and Brett in terms of overseas property. The pair are also directors of Profile, a Dubai based company which is currently working on development work in the Emirate and has also been instrumental in the purchase and ongoing development of the islands of Ireland and Thailand in The World development in the Arabian Gulf.

There is a link to this story on our website here.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

OPP Live '08

We are delighted to have been asked to attend this year's OPP Live 08 exhibition at the ExCel in London on November 25th and 26th. Organised by Overseas Property Professional magazine and events the show is now in its fourth year and has gone from strenght to strength, despite ongoing turmoil in property markets worldwide.

If there's anyone out there who wants to meet up with us at the exhibition just drop a line to tara@overseascafe.com or ring Tara on 00353 86 044 9278 and we'll do our best to arrange something.

Alternatively, if you're visiting the exhibition and are a registered visitor, you can log in to OPP's online diary and arrange a time to meet up with us.

We will be giving a seminar on the current state of the Irish overseas property industry and where it might go in the future. If you wish to attend it will be in Theatre 4 at 3pm on Tuesday November 25th.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Replies from Flash Developments

We've received a reply of sorts from the Ciaran Maguire Group, aka Flash Developments, relating to the queries we put to them last week.

We're quite disappointed that the group has decided that the vast majority of the queries we put to them are irrelevant. We know we are not alone in feeling that questions relating to land ownership, planning and master plans for the development would be relevant, but it would appear that CMG don't agree with us on this, which is a great pity.

In any case, this is the reply we got:

We would like to take this opportunity to reply to all the Relevant Questions that have been asked. We welcome your questions and comments, as this enables us to clarify any uncertainties. We have also been made aware that on numerous blogs and web forums that the posts in relation to Ciarán Maguire, Flash Developments and the Palm View Resort, have gone past the point of asking questions and now gone into the category of what we and our lawyers firmly believe to be serious defamatory content. Subsequently we have started legal proceedings against the identified hosts of these websites.

Moving on to what we feel are the more important issues and questions. Please note that the following information is factual and we have provided official documentation to outline this.

Flash Developments had recognised that Boa Vista in Cape Verde was an emerging market with massive potential, after our investor surveyors had undertaken all economic and feasibility studies, a plot of land was identified, at which point our lawyers carried out all the relevant due diligence. Subsequently on the On the 5th of July 2007, Flash Developments entered into an agreement with Mr. Martiano Oliveria for the Purchase of a 98,000 sq meter plot in Praia De Chaves. This Agreement was inscribed in the town hall of Boa Vista under number 5438.

Praia de Chaves is located within a ZDTI zone and currently falls under the control of SDTIBM in respect of planning permission and project approvals. After having met on several occasions with SDTIBM officials, including one of its Directors Francisco Neves, it became apparent that it would take longer than anticipated to receive all documentation and licences which would allow us to commence construction. It was at this point that the decision was made to relocate Palm View to Curral Velho which lies outside the ZDTI zone and falls under the jurisdiction of State Patrimony. Due to the plot of land being significantly larger at the new location, we were able to incorporate more first class facilities such as a Championship Golf Course and Marina into our Master Plan. We are confident that this will add further solid capital uplift to future property values to the benefit of all our clients. Since then we have met and have continued to liaise with Paulo Soares Director General for State Patrimony who fully endorses the Palm View Development. We have received a letter from Paulo Soares( appendix 1) stating that he has received all the documentation from us and is now assessing the information before signing off on the relevant protocols. We expect to receive these protocols within the next 2- 3 weeks, which will be posted on our website. NDR a well respected UK law firm that specialise in Cape Verdean and Portuguese law and who represent the majority of the clients on Palm View, have spoken directly to Paulo Soares and he has given assurances that land title will be transferred and Licences issued by year end 2008, allowing construction to start by start of first quarter 2009.In turn NDR have advised their clients to proceed with their purchase of the Palm View Resort.

To coincide with the launch of Palm View we personally chartered a Boeing 737 aircraft to take over 100 potential clients and their legal representatives Neville De Rougemont, as well as journalists including the UK’s Financial Times who wrote a very positive article on an all inclusive inspection trip. This inspection trip was completely endorsed by Cape Verdean Officials and was attended by the Mayor of Boa Vista. The trip in its entirety was a massive success, with the result that all clients that attended the trip purchased units on Palm View.

We would like to Clearly Highlight that all monies received from the inspection trip and subsequent sales were placed into an Escrow account, with the Clients Lawyer NDR being the Escrow Agent (Appendix 2) until such a time that all the relevant licences were received.

To coincide with the current global market we along with most developers that sell off plan had to revise our payment structure to facilitate clients that are finding it difficult to raise the necessary capital. We were able to broker an innovative deal with a UK based bond company that is regulated by the FSA called Exchange Bond and subsequently a protocol was signed between Flash Developments and Exchange Bond (Appendix 3). New contracts where then put in place incorporating the bank bonds and in turn these contracts were signed off by the clients lawyers NDR. This concept was applauded in the UK by agents as being the first of its kind, subsequently Palm View Resort was one of the few developments that continued and still continues to sell in the current market.

The procedure for using the bonds is quite simple and straight forward. Clients transfer minimal deposit for the unit that they wish to reserve. Flash Developments then in turn use the deposit to pay the premium on the bond as well as all other related charges. This enables Flash Developments to receive a bank bond from Exchange Bond in lieu of a large cash payment. This means that clients don’t have to release any further money as is the case in most off plan developments until the completion of the Resort. We have also stipulated on our reservation form that all money that is received by Flash Developments is fully refundable should a client choose to withdraw from their purchase.

Any transactions involving client’s money have always been kept “Clear and Transparent”. Money is either held in Escrow or if clients choose to go with the bond option, a minimum amount is put down in a holding account in Allied Irish Bank. This account is exclusively for the money to be paid on the premiums on the bonds and other related charges. All contracts issued to clients are signed off by NDR. We deem some of the comments posted on some forums to be highly irresponsible and fully unjustified given the gravity of many of the allegations alleged.


We have commissioned Loids Engineers to carry out initial engineering works on our behalf (see appendix 4). Loids engineering are a local Cape Verdean company that have extensive knowledge of the building industry in Cape Verde. They are currently involved in the Sambala Project in Cape Verde, which at present is one of the biggest developments on the islands. Loids had taken on provisional works on the old site in Praia De Chaves before it became apparent that more delays were imminent. Once the decision to move to Curral Velho had been confirmed Loids were then instructed to move to Curral Velho where they are currently carrying out provisional works (Appendix 5) allowing us to commence construction in the first quarter of 2009, where as on the original plot we were given no definitive start date.

As part of our investment into the islands, Flash Developments are also extending the new costal road that is scheduled for completion in 2010(see appendix 6). The work on the new costal road has already commenced and its completetion date is set to tie in with the opening of Phase 1 of the Palm View Resort and new 2000 room Riu hotel in Curral Velho. The link road that Flash Developments propose to build will link Palm View to the new costal road, in the interim to facilitate the moving of heavy machinery, equipment and materials we will be carrying out extensive improvements on the existing road, these improvements will allow for easy access to the site.


Point 1
Palm View is currently being marketed as a 7 star resort, we have been working closely with AA official and have been given the specification list, amenities list and staff quota requirements list that with the objective to receive 5 stars from AA, which is a recognised Global Standard. With this in mind our architects and planners factored these points into the design concept of Palm View allowing us to achieve our goals. Different countries have different legislation in respect of this rating, Palm View is being listed as a 7 star development in accordance with Cape Verdean Legislation. You will find examples of this in UAE and also in South East Asia. However it has always been our goal to develop one of the world’s most luxurious resorts and we are confident that we will achieve our goal.

Point 2
Palm View Resort is a 2.2 billion euro development. This figure relates to the sale price of Palm View which includes the Hotels, Golf Course, Villas, Apartments and Studios. At NO point did we mention that we had a credit line for 2.2 billion euro. Our official statement is that the 2.2 billion euro is part of our seven year plan for Boa Vista.

Point 3
With regard to our website, we accept that several grammatical errors were made. At present we outsource our web design, 3D renderings and CGI fly through to a company based in Uruguay called NEXUS. The website went live as a test some weeks ago without a final sign off from Flash Developments; subsequently a lot of information was picked up in this time such as grammatical errors and spelling errors which have now been amended.

Point 4
In relation to the information of our aircraft, we currently have a deal in place to wet lease two Boeing 737 aircrafts. These aircrafts will become operational at such a time that coincides with the opening of Palm View Resort. The term of our wet lease will be over 48 months with the option to renew the contract for a further time period or with the option to acquire the aircraft ourselves. The 3 airports that we intend to fly from are Dublin, Manchester and London Gatwick.

Point 5
In reference to our involvement in the construction industry, we would like to point out that our website mentions that we have been involved in the construction industry since 1988 and not formed in 1988. This was the date that Flexi Fabrication was founded by Christopher Maguire, who is one of the company directors of Flash developments. The reason we mentioned this, is to enable us to convey the experience that a member of our senior staff has within the construction industry. Flash Developments is the vehicle being used to Develope Palm View. We clearly stipulated that once overseas land was acquired, Flash Developments were then brought in to Build and Design Developments on the acquired land.

With Respect to our involvement in the Dundrum Shopping Centre and the K Club, this is derived from the company Flexi Fabrication, Ciarán’s fathers company. Ciarán headed up a division of the company namely Flexi Fit and managed both of these projects in relation to all works that where undertaken by the Flexi Group.


We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your relevant questions. It is in everyone’s interest that full clarity is achieved; however there have been a lot of unfair comments posted. To date we have spent a lot of money, time, effort and resources on the project, we are one of the few companies that are hiring staff in this ever increasing difficult climate at the moment. Over the next 14 months our Dublin offices will take on over 80 staff and we will be contracting Irish engineering companies and surveyors to work on the ground in Cape Verde. As well as this we will also be creating in excess of 3000 jobs over the next 7 years in Cape Verde. These unfair comments being posted and misguided information hinders our progress. It is our belief that due to the non comprehension of our innovative and unique payment terms, that this has lead to people sabotaging our business acumen. Some of the information being hosted and posted, is deemed by Flash Developments to be highly offensive. We are outraged by allegations concerning our credibility, integrity, bona fides and business acumen skills. We encourage all our own clients to carry out all relevant due diligence and we are always on hand to answer any questions clients may have.

While we welcome any questions, it is clear that some forums are currently operating under the policy “Shoot first, Ask questions later”, we would however appreciate more respect and cooperation from the relevant forums and request that forums conduct themselves with a much more suitable decorum.


This document is not signed but it was received from Deirdre Pluck, Global Marketing and Sales Manager. 

We have copies of all the appendices if anyone wishes to see any of them, we don't have a facility to upload them here. Just email info@overseascafe.com if you want a copy and we'll send them on.

If you have any questions for CMG they can be directed to deirdre@palmview.ie or you can visit the company's website

Friday, November 21, 2008

Irish Tax Residency Laws Change

The recent finance bill has changed the tax residency rules. For most of us this will not make a jot of difference, but for our high flying tycoons who have left Ireland to become tax resident outside the state it will cause a bit of discomfort.

Essentially the Irish government are trying to get their mitts on taxes from Ireland's richest individuals, particularly those who still do much of their business in Ireland, but then wing their way off to their foreign tax haven mansions in the evening. The paragraph of most interest to Ireland's high fliers will be this one:

"Section 13 amends section 819 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 to provide that, in determining the number of days spent in the State for tax residence purposes, an individual shall be present in the State for a day if he or she is present in the State at any time during that day."

Of course this provision will only be of any assistance to the Irish economy if the Revenue can find a reliable method of actually proving that people have been in Ireland at any particular point in time. Most of these guys can't be tracked by airline flight data, as they don't use commercial airlines, and many are never flagged at the airports they use to enter and leave the country. This, of course, is an entirely different matter and one, it would be hoped, the government is looking into at the moment.

You'll find an advisory piece on the changes, plus a link to the actual finance bill document (should you be in need of help to sleep) here.

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Advisory pieces on the OverseasCafe.com website

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Atlantis Dubai Grand Opening

The Atlantis Resort in Dubai has its official opening this evening in what is expected to be one of the most extravagant, money-pits of a grand opening ever seen on the planet.

The resort, pictured on the left almost exactly a year ago, (it looks a lot more spiffy than this now), is a recreation of the famous Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.

According to the Khaleej Times some of the famous attendees will include Robert De Niro, Denzel Washington, basketball legend Michael Jordon and talk show host Oprah Winfrey, as well as singers Janet Jackson (I'd imagine they'll be paying extreme attention to her attire just in case anything pops out) and Lindsay Lohan (likewise).

Aussie music legend, Kylie Minogue, is to make her debut Middle East performance at the exclusive event for over 2,000 guests from across the globe. Actor Tom Cruise, Charlize Theron, and celebrity tantrum thrower, Naomi Campbell, are also expected to be in attendance.

The opening will host a record-breaking fireworks display, both in size and cost (well what else would you expect? This is Dubai after all), designed and created by international pyrotechnics expert, Grucci.

Fireworks will stretch across the full 520 kilometres of Palm Jumeirah, lighting up the entire island and the Atlantis resort, creating a display that will be visible from space (what part exactly isn't specified, but you know what they mean). Whatever else you say about the Emiratiis, you've got to hand it to them, they do excess better than practically anyone else.

The event might come as a bit of a shot in the arm for the Dubai property market which appears to be in somewhat of a slide of late, but I wouldn't bet on it. You have to say it's a great way to kick off a recession though. It sure beats the misery in which we're inclined to wallow in Ireland.

This is how the fireworks display went, pretty impressive (if you don't mind the €30m price tag). Video courtesy of CNN.

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For a selection of property in Dubai click here.

For a list of agents selling property in Dubai click here.

For independent articles on the Dubai property market click here.

For advice on purchasing in Dubai click here.

For news on the Dubai property market click here.

For new releases and product updates from Dubai agents click here.

For a selection of property exhibitions featuring Dubai property click here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Queries for Ciaran Maguire about Cape Verde development

Just over a week ago we were contacted by the Ciaran Maguire Group, who were not very impressed with our previous blog on the company. They had nothing against the blog per-se, but were worried about some of the links to forums questioning the group and its plans for the Palm View Resort on Boa Vista island in Cape Verde.

We refused to remove the blog on the grounds that we felt it linked to a number of sources of information that would be invaluable to potential clients wishing to make a judgement on whether they should consider purchasing on this development or not. We instead, proposed putting a list of questions to the company which we felt would help ameliorate some of the worries potential investors, and current investors, with the group might have. They agreed that this would be a good way to go forward.

We submitted the list of questions on Wednesday November 12th and asked them to respond to them by the following Friday, November 14th. On November 13th the company asked if they could be allowed until the following Monday, November 17th to complete the answers to the questions. We agreed to this. It is now Wednesday November 19th and, to date, all we have heard is that they are still working on the replies to the questions.

We made it widely known that we were asking these questions of the company and at this stage we feel we have no option but to publish the list of questions, even though we have, as yet, received no reply to any of them.

Despite the lack of a response from the company to date we would have to stress that we have no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of the Ciarán Maguire Group. We do, however, feel that they have left a lot of questions to be answered and are very disappointed that they have, to date, reneged on their commitment to provide answers to some of these questions.

If we do get answers to some or all of the questions from the company at any stage in the future we will list them here as soon as they are received.

1. Where has the Ciarán Maguire Group suddenly come from? Nobody in Ireland has ever heard of them before. This seems very strange. A company starting a big ambitious project such as this, generally does so on the back of a strong track record. What is Ciarán’s track record in the development field either in Ireland or overseas?

2. Does the Ciarán Maguire Group actually own any land in Cape Verde at this point in time? If so, can you produce documentary evidence of this title?

3. Why was the project moved from the originally mooted Chaves Beach location, where many apartments had been sold, to the new one in Curral Velho.

4. In a post on the Boa Vista Experience website on September 17th last Colm (Quinn I presume) posting as ‘Flash Developments’ claimed that “As it stands we have contracted Liods engineering to start work on the site. they are currently on the ground doing what they do. We have recently sent across to the engineering company and the builders the sum of €4.5 million euro. As a development company we are not going to send across such a vast amount of cash without the land etc being purchased.” This statement would obviously indicate that development work had started in the Chaves Beach location.

5. On October 30th, in Colm’s last post on the forum, it was announced that, far from building having taken place on the Chaves Beach plot, it was now being moved to Curral Velho. This hardly seems credible. Was there ever any development on the Chaves Beach plot?

6. What are the workers that were employed on this project now doing?

7. Is Curral Velho not a ‘Protected Area’ on the island of Boa Vista?

8. Queries have been raised about the ability to reach the Curral Velho site. Investors are worried that roads are not planned to reach this area for some time and even when they do, they will be a long way short of the currently proposed site.

9. Can the planning permission for Chaves Beach really merely be transferred in a matter of a few weeks, as appears to be suggested? Surely such planning issues would need to be ratified by the government again and viewed in light of the new location and any planning restrictions that may exist there. This would, one would imagine, take months, if not years to complete.

10. In light of the above query, does the Ciarán Maguire Group have full planning permission for the proposed development in Curral Velho? If so is it possible to see documentary evidence of this?

11. Does CMG have a copy of the documentation on the Exchange Bond Guarantee which is being used in this project?

12. Who holds the funds that have already been paid in escrow? Is it possible to see a legal guarantee that CMG has no access to this account until building has completed?

13. Does CMG have a copy of the documentation showing the commitment of Banif to provide a 100% mortgage on completion?

14. Who is providing the guarantee for the 10 year 7% return on the properties? How can purchasers be assured that this guarantee will, indeed, materialise?

15. Colm has said in his announcement on the Boa Vista Experience that the company has “been working closely with the Cape Verdian (sic) Government, who fully support and endorse our 2.2 billion euro development. In recognition of this multi billion euro investment in the islands, the Cape Verdian (sic) Government have ceded further government owned land to allow for massive improvements as well as ensuring no prolonged delays.” It has, however, been alleged that the Cape Verdean government run planning authority, SDTIBM, has not even received details of any proposed project for Curral Velho. Can you explain how this could be the case?

16. Can you pass on details of a government official with whom we can speak (outside of those directly connected with the project) to confirm that the appropriate land ownership and planning permissions exist?

17. The website also claims that “to facilitate the additional world-class facilities already in place the site is being moved to the prime location of Curral Velho in proximity to Santa Monica beach.” Surely Curral Velho is completely barren and there are no facilities of any description there, not even a roadway. What exactly does Ciarán mean by this statement?

18. Is Palm View Resort intended to be a Five Star Resort, a Six Star Resort or a Seven Star Resort? All three have been mentioned at one time or another on one or other of Ciarán’s websites or in newspaper articles. Confusion such as this tends to make investors very nervous, particularly when the developer himself appears to change the star rating on a regular basis.

19. Ciarán’s website says he has purchased hotels in Mexico & Miami. Can you outline which hotels these are and how much he paid for them?

20. Ciarán’s press release describes him as ‘an award winning entrepreneur’. Can you outline any awards he has won to date?

21. Why do apartment specifications and prices differ radically depending on what website they are found? E.g. http://www.palmviewresort.co.uk/plans/13.pdf and http://www.palmviewresorts.com/files/site-plan.pdf, two of your own sites, have completely different site plans on them.

22. Ciarán has “outlayed ‘€100m in land acquisitions … that include hundreds of hectares of prime sea front land in locations such as Brazil, Panama, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Miami and Cape Verde.” Could you outline where the plots are in Brazil, Panama, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Miami, how much they cost and at what level of development they currently reside?

23. Ciarán’s site claims to be developing three golf courses worth €110m. to be designed by the worlds leading course architects. Who are these architects exactly and at what stage are they with plans for these courses? The courses are, apparently, set for completion by 2011 so they should have at least broken ground and have had some of the necessary infrastructural work completed at this stage.

24. Where did Ciarán manage to raise the €100m necessary to purchase such lands without ever coming to the attention of the business community? Figures like this get bandied about a lot in the property industry but it is, nonetheless, not easy for someone with no previous development credentials to come by such funds.

25. The Casino portion of the web site claims that “Currently the worlds most acclaimed Architects, Engineers and Hotel designers are working on the Palm View Resort.” Could Ciarán name some of these so that we could ask them for comments about their involvement in the project.

26. Those who have visited the Blinkers Casino in City West claim that it is a long way from being a 5-Star Casino as is claimed on the website. Is this the type of 5-Star level to which casinos, and other facilities, in the Palm View Resorts will aspire?

27. Ciarán’s site claims: "To date we have created millions of Euro for our clients by identifying the right investment opportunities..." Could he detail or give examples of some of these opportunities?

28. The Ciarán Maguire Investments section of the website specifies an investment “offering 50% return over 24 months.” As this is obviously a financial offering we would like to know if it has been passed by IFSRA? We would also like to know what, exactly the investment is as it sounds like a very welcome return in such a poor investment environment.

29. We would like to know the names of the top team of professionals mentioned in the Investment portion of the site and what their qualifications are to manage such an investment portfolio.

30. We’d also like to know why the phone numbers quoted on this Investment portion of the site lead to two private houses in Co. Tipperary who know nothing of your company.

31. Some current clients of the company would like to see proof of the €2.2 Billion line of credit Ciarán says is being offered by Banif to complete this project at a time when banks worldwide do not have the ability to lend in any capacity, particularly not for property development.

32. Can Ciarán justify the inclusion of 25 sq. m. studio apartments in a six or seven star development? Surely such a star rating implies a level of uber-luxury that simply cannot be provided in such a small space.

33. Why were the planes changed from 747’s to 737’s and the London airport changed from London City to ‘pending negotiations with Gatwick’?

34. Has Ciarán, purchased 2 x 747 jets or is he simply hiring them as required? The website stated that he had purchased two such jets but it now says that ‘two 737’s have been acquired’, even though the picture on the website is still a 747 as far as we are aware. There is a substantial difference between the two and it has been outlined that the former could not be accommodated in some of the airports mentioned, London City and Boa Vista included.

35. The airline industry is a very tough one at the best of times, but recent economic realities have made it impossible for all but the strongest companies to survive. What is Ciarán’s experience in the airline industry that would indicate that he can succeed where most airlines have, and are currently, failing?

36. Could Ciarán explain the assertion - "To me it just made great business sense having our own aircrafts, it enables us to have a complete monopoly when entering into emerging markets."

37. Are the luxury brands on the CMG website being used with prior agreement from the companies in question?

38. Flash developments states that the complex is being pre-fabricated in modules off-site by a German company and this work is already underway. Could Ciarán provide details of the company undertaking the work so that it may be independently verified?

39. Why does the website claim that your team of directors has been assembled after a worldwide search when three of them are family members and two more are Irishmen in their twenties?

40. What connection does Ciarán’s company have with the K-Club and the Dundrum Town Shopping Centre?

41. Why are there no bios for the lead executives on the website?

42. Ciarán’s bio suggests that, once the overseas land had been identified he formed Flash Developments to secure its purchase. On the Flash Developments site, when it was online, it claimed that Flash Developments was formed in 1988. This would have been at a time when Ciarán was 10. This hardly seems credible.

43. The Flash Developments site said (when it was online) that the company “now plays a key role in the development of many of the most prestigious developments in Ireland.” Could Ciarán outline some of these developments are and what the company’s role was?

44. According to CRO records Flash Developments was registered only last year and has not yet filed accounts. How can this be if it has been around since 1988?

45. The first sentence of Ciarán’s bio says he is “one of the Worlds Youngest Chairmen and Presidents of a Multi Billion euro Corporation.” Where is the Ciaran Maguire Group registered? When did it last file accounts? What was its turnover last year?

46. As a company registered in Ireland involved in the property services industry it is necessary, by law, to be registered with the NPSRA. Is the Ciarán Maguire Group or Flash Developments registered?

47. Why do the contact details for ownership of the ciaranmaguire.com web domain list an address in Dublin, Uruguay?

48. Ciarán’s bio suggests that he is a true philanthropist. Can you outline some of this philanthropy to date?

49. Why does Ciarán use such a blatant rip off of a Warren Buffet quote as his own on the intro to his website?

50. Were Ciarán Maguire and Brian Mullen members of a boy band called NV some years ago?

51. How many of each property type has the Ciaran Maguire Group currently sold on the Palm View Resort development?


Ciaran Maguire has come back to us with answers, of sorts, to some of the above queries. Unfortunately the company deemed most of them 'irrelevant', but you'll have to make up your own mind on this. You'll find the answers that were provided here.