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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 September 2007, 06:59 GMT 07:59 UK
Property buyers 'misled' claim
Spanish development
European economists claim some Spanish properties are overpriced
Sales staff at one of Europe's largest international estate agents have been found to have lied and misled potential clients into investing in overseas property, a BBC investigation has revealed.

MacAnthony Realty International (MRI) sales staff were secretly filmed promising huge growth rates in Spanish property prices, the BBC Inside Out East programme has revealed.

But the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development recently warned that Spanish property prices could be over-valued by as much as 30%.

One commission-based salesman told investigators that Disney were planning to start building near to a development he was showing them.

Facing repossession

But Disney told the BBC they have no plans for Southern Spain.

He also told programme-makers that he knew the Spanish property market well having worked for MRI for three years, but the BBC found that just two months earlier he had been selling cars in Stockport.

Multiple Sclerosis sufferer Dawn Donovan, of Norwich, Norfolk, said she faced losing 60,000 after being persuaded to buy a property.

She said she was led to believe by MRI staff that the rental income would cover the mortgage payments.

But this has not happened and she now faces repossession.

MRI is run by Darragh MacAnthony who, at 31, recently became the youngest chairman in the Football League when he took over at Peterborough United.

The company refused to give an interview.

They said they had thousands of happy clients and that any act of misconduct "will be thoroughly investigated and appropriate action taken".

They denied issuing assurances or guarantees on investment returns or rental income.

  • The full report can be seen on BBC1 in the East on Inside Out at 1930 BST on Wednesday 19 September.


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