Thursday, February 19, 2009

OverseasCafe features in International Herald Tribune Blog

More good news. The OverseasCafe featured on the internationally renowned International Herald Tribune (IHT) blog, Raising the Roof, written by Kevin Brass. If you're looking for a blog to give you a flavour of what's going on around the world you won't find much better.

The story which grabbed Kevin's attention was the interview with Jerome Andree (you'll find it here if you've not seen it before), formerly of Fortuna Estates.

It's always good to get feedback which confirms that there are high profile people in the industry engaging with the website. Just makes it all feel a little more worthwhile.

The full blog is below, but the original can be found here:

A Spanish land company accused of defrauding thousands of investors was originally operated “loud and proud” and established as a legitimate investment scheme, Jerome Andree, one of the co-founders of Fortuna Estates, told Overseas Café.

Spanish authorities raided Fortuna’s offices in December. The company reportedly offered investors shares in land in rural Andalucia, which they said would be reclassified for commercial development. Fortuna tempted investors with the prospect of up to 800 percent returns on their money, the London Times reports. More than 2,000 buyers were allegedly scammed, many from the U.K. and Ireland, according to authorities.

In an e-mail exchange with Overseas Café, Andree offers his version of events, including what he calls the “soap opera” that led to his “removal” from Fortuna in 2007. Andree, who is apparently living in Sri Lanka now, said Fortuna was established “in a buoyant Spanish market to achieve beneficial returns for investors,” not as the swindle described by prosecutors.

“Under my watch all the land was bought and paid for in full,” Andree wrote. “This was good land and the clients were correctly given their title deeds.”

Asked if Fortuna was a “boiler room operation,” Andree denied it.

“While I was involved Fortuna Land was operated loud and proud with clients encouraged to visit, meet the principals and staff face to face,” Andree replied.

When asked what advice he would give Fortuna’s clients, he wrote, “I think all investors prior to May 2007 should hang on to the land they own.”

The full exchange can be found here.

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