In our first episode, we had a brief look at the beginnings of Anfi, their partnership with TUI and their departure with the introduction of the new partners at Anfi, The Cazorla Group. A partnership which transformed Anfi from the “dream to the nightmare”, some say, many of Anfi’s woes stem from their decisions, which is for you the reader to decide. This partnership has not gone by without some drama or other, usually resulting in some bad press being published and the Anfi “propaganda” machine has to go into action. But more on this later.
When TUI first entered the partnership with Lyng, they held 51% of the shares, what we know as the “Golden Share”, this gives them control over the Board of Directors. TUI immediately took advantage of this and placed its own people into the top management of Anfi.
The culture shock was enormous, TUI attempted to move Anfi directly into their own system purely as a subsidiary. There were also clashes at the boardroom level, between the two different systems and views for Anfi and its future development.
It is also believed the Board of Directors were informed around 2001 that the contracts they were selling for their timeshare system were in fact in breach of the new laws (enacted January 5, 1999). By all accounts, it was recommended that the contracts be changed to fully comply with the law. This was rejected and as we know it set the seeds for many of today’s problems for Anfi.
As we mentioned yesterday, Tui also had other reasons for pulling out of Anfi, enter the Cazorla Brothers, Santiago Sanatana and Manuel, with their Cazorla Group. They are a product of Spain’s transformation which began in the 1960s.
They began with nothing but eventually built a large group of companies and were very successful in the construction industry. They even owned a couple of hotels.
When TUI decided to sell its 51%, there were several potential buyers, this also included the Anfi management team and Bjorn Lyng himself. It appears that while these negotiations were underway, Grupo Santana Cazorla had gone straight to TUI and had already bought the entire 51%.
The Cazorlas were now in control of the board at Anfi.
View over the Championship Golf Course at Anfi Tauro
The timing and the entry of the Cazorla’s were not all bad, it was around this time the project to build the Championship Golf Course and Resort at Tauro was well in hand. It was not long before the machinery of the Cazorla Group was operating and constructing this magnificent course. It appeared a match made in heaven.
But the proverbial spanner in the works would surface, not immediately but simmering away beneath the public face was to be some revelations that would turn the relationship very sour and public indeed.
The courts were certainly going to be busy with cases involving Anfi, their “illegal” timeshare contracts and other matters. One battle to hit the courts was between the Lyng family and Santiago Sanatana Cazorla, over a small matter of 8 million euros “disappearing”. It also involved them demanding Cazorla’s resignation as CEO. Apparently, the Lyng family noticed the diversion of these funds while a lawsuit was pending between Santana Cazorla and Lopesan at The Court of First Instance No1 of Las Palmas.
The newspaper La Provincia reported that Santana Cazorla provided a Promissory note to avoid foreclosure of Anfi by Lopesan who claimed a debt of 14 million euro.
Lopesan claimed the Anfi Group owed 14 million euros for the land in Tauro purchased from the Cardenas family. Lopesan claimed it was owed this as they had bought a Cardenas debt. The links below are to the La Provincia articles
17 July 2013
18 July 2013
La Provincia has been one of the main major newspapers which have consistently reported on the Anfi Story and continue to do so.
As we know, eventually the Lyng family sold their share to IFA/Lopesan, so now the protagonists were partners, and the court battles were not over, in fact, it was just the beginning.
The story of Anfi is a long complicated and rather intriguing one, in our next episode we look at the legal battles over the sales of their timeshare system. The first historical victory at the Supreme Court for the consumer and placing the previously untested timeshare laws firmly on the map. This then set the scene for all other cases to follow and that is, as they say, now history, so join us on Monday for Part 3.