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Tuesday, 23 April, 2002, 16:01 GMT 17:01 UK
Timeshare conman ordered to pay 35m
John Palmer: Eight year sentence for timeshare fraud
John Palmer ran a massive timeshare fraud
Timeshare fraudster John "Goldfinger" Palmer has vowed to appeal against a court order forcing him to repay more than 35m.

A hearing at the Old Bailey on Tuesday upheld a ruling made by Judge Gerald Gordon last week that 70% of Palmer's estimated 47m assets should be confiscated.

But the court also gave immediate leave to appeal against the imposition of the confiscation order which is the largest made in English criminal history.

The judge ruled that 33m should be confiscated by the state and 2.7m should be used to compensate about 360 holidaymakers who have lodged claims against Palmer.

The compensation he has never, ever had a problem with

Giovanni di Stefano Solicitor

Speaking outside the Old Bailey, Palmer's solicitor Giovanni di Stefano said: "Judge Gordon has granted a substantial certificate for an immediate appeal."

But Mr Di Stefano made it clear that there would be no appeal against the compensation to the "genuine" timeshare owners.

He said: "The compensation he has never, ever had a problem with. He was paying compensation to the supposed losers in this timeshare situation in Tenerife."

Palmer has been given three years to pay, but the first 20m will have to be paid within two years.

The 52-year-old from Bath was jailed for eight years after being convicted last May of conspiracy to defraud.

Complex web

If he fails to meet the payments, he faces a further 11 years in jail.

Palmer nicknamed "Goldfinger" after being acquitted of handling gold from the 1983 Brinks-Mat bullion robbery.

He then went to Tenerife where he masterminded a massive timeshare fraud, involving an estimated 17,000 holidaymakers.

Using a complex web of companies, he and his associates targeted both new and existing timeshare customers.

New customers were told that the timeshare would be rented out for high amounts, thus virtually paying for the timeshare itself.

In fact, the company made no attempts to rent the apartments out.

When victims realised they had been duped, Palmer's complex web of companies made it impossible for them to get a refund.

The BBC's Margaret Gilmore
"He has three years to pay or face a further 11 years in jail"
Kim Winter, Holiday Which Magazine
"A lot of people were taken in"
Defence lawyer Giovanni di Stefano
"Mr Palmer is a man who has behaved in an impeccable manner towards the court"
See also:

23 Apr 02 | England
'Persecuted' for Brink's-Mat case
23 Apr 02 | England
Timeshare victims wait for cash
23 May 01 | Northern Ireland
Timeshare king jailed for eight years
18 May 01 | UK
The fraud king of Tenerife
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