The story of Anfi is a long and eventful one, it began with the development of the resort, the brief partnership with Tui and then the virtual takeover of the Cazorla Group. As part of their purchase, their 50% share from Tui also included the “Golden Share”. This gave them control over the board of directors. Today we look at a story which came to light in 2016, this is the Tauro Beach Project, it is one that has been fraught with problems and some very serious irregularities.
It all began with the Guardia Civil Nature Protection Service, SEPRONA. They challenged the authorisations which had been granted to Anfi to occupy over 3 km of the coast*. The Guardia Civil had been running an investigation into the Anfi Group, the promoters of the project since work began to transform the beach in February of 2016.
For further information on the work of SEPRONA visit their website
Then in July 2016, La Provincia published an article about the investigation and how it had expanded. They reported that the Department of Sustainability of the Coasts and the Sea, which comes under the Ministry of Environment, had dismissed the head of the Canary Islands Coastal Authority, José María Hernández Leon. It appears that his dismissal is based on serious irregularities found in the permissions granted to the Anfi Group for the project, the creation of a new beach, boardwalk, and other facilities at the mouth of Barranco de Tauro.
As these investigations moved along, it uncovered some very disturbing information, it was announced that the Mayor of Mogan, Onalia Bueno, was and still is under investigation. This was for granting a licence that had apparently expired. But this was only the tip of what was being uncovered. It was looking as if some very serious unlawful acts had been committed in the execution of the regeneration works at Tauro Beach.
The plans were to convert the rock and pebble beach into a manmade sandy beach, build a marina and within the Barranco, construction of several hotels, a shopping centre and other amenities. Anfi would be holding the licence to “exploit” the area for a period of 50 years. This concession has now been legally removed.
It soon came to light that the licences and permissions to start the work and transform the beach were not issued until around 6 months after the work had already got underway. Just this alone meant that all the work that had so far been done, was in effect illegal
Then there was the controversy about the sand that was used for the beach, it was apparently imported from Western Sahara, it is also believed that no environmental precautions were carried out on the imported sand, this is to protect the new area from invasive species which may be carried in the sand. It should also be pointed out, there is an undersea area just 300 meters from the shore which is “protected”, it contains species not found anywhere else.
It also came to light that this sand was imported illegally, there are International and EU rules which govern the use of any resources from this region. The UN and the EU have sanctions on this matter and the sand most definitely comes into that category. One of the reasons is that since the Spanish withdrawal from Western Sahara in 1976, Morocco has laid claim to the region and has occupied it against international condemnation.
This story was also published in the UK press after Timeshare Insider was contacted by Anders Lundqvist and Rowan Bauer, two independent journalists who were also investigating the story. The article was published in The Guardian and can be read at the following link.
The first conviction of this investigation was that of the Head of the Coastal Authority, José María Hernández Leon, it is believed that more charges and convictions may follow.
During this whole episode, the story was published about the plight of the people who live at Tauro Beach along with the small bar and restaurant situated there. They watched with horror as their beach and area were basically destroyed.
With the transformation of the beach into a flat sandy area, the natural protection of the land behind the beach and the houses were removed. At the first of the high tides and only a mild swell from a small storm, the sea breached the beach washing much of it away. It did not end there, the local population were flooded out of their homes, this had never happened before, even during some of the most violent storms.
There were also incidents of Anfi sending in the bulldozers and using heavy-handed tactics to clear the area and the residents. The whole project had torn apart a community, it was at war with not just Anfi, but also their own elected officials whose backing was questionable.
The investigations are still ongoing and are likely to last even longer, Anfi and the Cazorla Group are also involved and may face possible criminal charges and prosecution. Along with them are likely to be members of the Mogan Council and especially the Mayor, who holds ultimate responsibility for her administration. The discrepancies in the documentation are being viewed very severely as fraudulent, the whole affair is going much deeper and is more complicated than first envisaged.
The debacle that is the Tauro Beach Project, has not done the reputation of many individuals much good, it has also severely tarnished the reputation of Anfi. The local politicians involved are being discredited with the cutting of corners. The “favours” made to get things moving all smell of bribery and corruption which will all come out in the end.
For our last episode in the Anfi Story, we briefly look at the “Boardroom Battles”, many of these have spilt over into the courts, it is a story which reveals the great animosity between the various partners. As one chapter closes, another is waiting in the wings to be revealed.
In our Friday Article, we welcome back another old contributor, David Franks, with his little piece titled “Our Diamond Resorts Misadventures”, so a little change in developers, maybe we will give Westgate a little reprieve for this week, but we can’t promise anything after that. So join us on Friday for more of David’s “Waxing Lyrical” on his experience with Diamond.
*In Spain, there are no private beaches, and all citizens have a right to coastal access. Licences are issued to use or “exploit” the area for a given period, subject to all necessary planning permits.