Ciudadanos para la Democracia (CPD)
Deep-seated Government, Judicial and Business Corruption in Mallorca
"The root of corruption is incompetence, for only the incompetent need to be corrupt."
News update: November 2012: Baleares High Court frustrated by Europen Human Rights laws! See below
Corrupción en Mallorca - el video - in Spanish:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bk6mCmJc2Yw
Sadly for such a beautiful island, Mallorca is known to be corrupt, and you need to take great care trusting most or perhaps even any of the lawyers or Notaries in Mallorca, or the prosecutors and judges, or even the local planning department to protect your most basic rights - even those honest Spanish professionals will be up against a system that has been twisted to local interests for many years, if not centuries. This is the experience of many residents and investors in Mallorca. They used to say "the water in Mallorca don't taste like what it oughta!", but now, it seems that the same applies to the local Spanish government, who, as of July 2012, have 5 top politicians in jail for corruption, including shortly the Press state, the ex Presidente, Mr. Matas, who was a senior minister in the current government.
We ask, "Why is Mallorca so "different"? Have the centuries of isolation and constant threat of attacks from passing ships lead to a fear of the outside world, and a closing of Mallorquin ranks against the "threat" of all things foreign? Do they consider "Guiris", as they call northern Europeans, Americans, Australians, New Zealanders and others, as simply more "invaders" or just ripe for the pickings? Of course many residents, especially the wealthy, have had a warm initial reception, only to later suffer problems after buying property that was supposedly legal, only to find that for some reason or other previously undisclosed, their dream home is no longer quite legal, and that they can't even repair, rebuild or sell it.
It must be said that there are some excellent and trustworthy Spanish judges, and if you are fortunate, they will protect you from a whole host of abuses going on today in Mallorca. But these judges are it seems, sometimes under pressure to use the law in favor of local Mallorquin businessmen, politicians and even greedy lawyers.
Unfortuantely, you can't rely on the Mallorquin equivalent to the Law Society, the "Il·lustre Col·legi d'Advocats" either, as they seem to protect their own first and foremost, and the law, and your rights come a very late second. If you make a complaint about one of their lawyers, you'll be told to send a written complaint by registered post, and no matter how serious your complaint, or how detailed, you may just get a one line response saying that the the Governing Board has rejected your complaint, without even a single explanation! But don't give up, if you persue them hard enough, they will reply and you do have the right to appeal their decision if you think its unfair, although it seems that they don't have an indepent review system, and the same people will review your appeal!
Mallorca seems to be rife with corruption, from the private to government sector, with are so many politicians, lawyers and Spanish businessmen in prison or awaiting sentence. Many a foreign investor has run foul of the corruption, and has found little assistance from local lawyers, apart from a grand compassion to charge astronomical fees. These local lawyers, above all, seem in general to protect their own interests above those of the "gurris" (foreigners). Amongst all this corruption there are a few excellent judges, however, the Lawyers College has recently shown itself also to be both corrupt and unprofesional, showing an utter contempt and bias in dealing with complaints against its members, and an unwillingness to explain their rejection of complaints.
Our advice is to take the greatest care with any financial or business transaction in Mallorca in which you need to rely on a local lawyer or business person. Many people have bought houses that they were told were legal, only to suffer serious problems later, and many a business people have suffered problems with very little support from the authorities or justice system, which can also take years to react.
Click here for further information on corruption in Mallorca
The Consulate may be unable to help you as they are very cautious about dealing with the Spanish authorities. The current (2011-12) Consul in Mallorca, Paul Abrey, who now has abandoned his diplomatic career, supported by a British Vice Consul, Esteban Mas, who is a Spanish citizen and close to local authroities, who also left his career as a "British" diplomat, were, it would seem, cautious about protecting the interests of British citizens for concerns over upsetting local Spanish authorities. Giles Paxman, the British Ambasador in Madrid, who has been trying to improve social support cooperation for British citizens in Spain, may not reply to emails from the public, so your options for assistance are very limited, though the Mallorca Consul will give you a supportive ear and even limited legal advice. We wait to see how the new Consul in Mallorca defends British citizens rights.
Dealing with Lawyers in Mallorca
Lawyers, like numerous other service providers, are primarily interested in making a good profit, afterall, first and foremost they are in the law business to make money!
So its worth remembering that the profit they make is directly related to the number of hours they can bill you, hence the usual "Yes, but its more complicated than you think!" response frequently heard from lawyers.
There are lawyers that provide a good service in Mallorca, certainly for simple and non-contentious matters, but care needs to be taken to agree, in writing, the scope of the work to be done and the cost on a fixed basis, otherwise you may well find yourself with a very nasty surprise!
In one case, a British man asked local lawyers the cost of defending his case, and received offers from 3,400 to 9,000 euros for one court hearing alone. Instead, he decided to pay travel costs for a respected Madrid lawyer, and the cost, including flight, was under 1,500 euros, although the lawyer seemed far more experienced and competent that the local Mallorquin lawyers!
Bringing lawyers from outside Mallorca can be a good idea especially if you have cases against local Mallorquins!
We have seen cases of a client asking a lawyer to fix his work to no more than 10 hours, only to get a bill for nearly 9,000 euros, and that from Spain's biggest firm, Garrigues. A later court judgement reduced the lawyers fees by nearly half, but still!!
Another case with a Mallorquin lawyer, Francisco Ramis Ripol, who sent a bill for 16,068 euros to a client, who almost had a heart attack, only later for the College of Lawyers to reduce it to just 2,000 euros for overcharging, not for the British man, but for the Mallorquin businessmen suing him falsely in an atempt to take-over his business that had lost thier appeal, and it was these Mallorquins that had the bill reduced for themselves. One wonders whether the British man would have had the same luck.
Mallorquin lawyer, Francisco Ramis Ripoll, tries to send British client to prison for 3 years for not paying the money he demanded!
This same lawyer, Franisco (Xisco) Ramis, tried to send his own client to prison for 3 years, with the help of the Mallorquin Prosecutor, Concepcion Arino. The Spanish Prosecutor and lawyer alleged that the money paid to the British man in an out-of-court settlement made by the dishonest Mallorquin Hotel owner, Miguel de Arriba, who had lost false multi-million euro claims against the same British man, was in all respects, the direct patrimony of the lawyer! This was claimed even though the court agreement stated that the money was to pay the British man's "invoiced legal costs", which Xisco Ramis had unexpectedly raised from 17,000 to 57,000 euros, and to which the British man wished taxed by the Mallorquin Law Society!
It was necessary for the British resident to fly in a trusted lawyer from Madrid for his defense. This expert defense left the Mallorquin judge, Magdalena Ferrete Sol, little option to declair the British man innocent of all charges, although she delayed to sentence for 3 months, and did not award costs, stating that her fellow Mallorquin, the lawer Xisco Ramis, had not made the false claim in "bad faith"!
Ramis and the Spanish Prosecutor have appealed the sentence, which again has been defended by the well known and trusted lawyer from Madrid, Javier Perez Roldan, and a final sentence from Mallorca's Supreme Court, the Audiencia Provincial, which has was issued in October 2012, declaring the British man to be absolved, yet not agreeing with the lower Courts ruling, and complaining that the British man thinks that he is the only one with reason, and refusing his costs to be paid by his ex-lawyer!
Baleares High Court, the "Audiencia Provincial" issues a very strange absolution of British man, Robin Colclough!
In a final sentence that appears confusing or even confused, the High Court of Baleares decides that Colclough acted badly by refusing to pay his Mallorquin lawyer without even having had the "luxury" of receiving a final bill, or even a proforma invoice, and yet later goes on to say that Colclough "acted correctly following a lawyers advice" not to pay his ex lawyer until an invoice (proforma) was issued! Although Colclough "won" the appeal, the Mallorquin Magistrate uses his powers to refuse the return of thousands of euros in costs suffered by the British citizen, giving no reason for not awarding costs.
His "Ilumininated" Magistrate Sir Eduardo Calderon Susin, who signed the sentence, claimed that "the accused believes only himself to be assisted by reason and has made an endless list of excuses that fail to justify his refusal to pay his lawyer, distrusting everyone and looking for legal support, believing himself to be the victim of constant harassment... and certainly this Court will not get into that dialectic to discuss the behaviour of his lawyer, Mr. Ramis!"
The very fact that under EU and even Spanish Consumer law a client has the right to a final and detailed bill, and the right to dispute that bill, seems to be of little interest to Don. Dr. Eduardo Calderon Susin, who it seems would have prefered to send that damned Colclough straight to a Spanish prison cell for the next 3-years, that is if it hadn t been for that darn European Human Rights Court, who just wouldn t have allowed it!
European Court of Human Rights viewed as an "insurmountable obstacle" by Magistrate at Mallorca High Court
At the end of his sentence Don. Eduardo states "However, all the above said, before setting sentence, we find the serious, and we understand insurmountable obstacle of the doctrine lately radicalized by the European Court of Human Rights...". He sounds disappointed that sending a Brit to jail is not possible on this occasion, yet later states: "the defendant felt defrauded by the actions of his lawyer Xisco Ramis, because after committing to a set fee, the lawer charged a great deal more. The defendant, having gone to another lawyer to see how he could solve the matter, and, above all, adding that there has been no misconduct by the defendant considering that part of the money he received in compensation he had used it to pay some of the outstanding debt of his lawyer...".
Confused? We were and are! At the same time as the Magistrate states his clear frustration at not being able to send Colclough off for a stiff prison sentence for having the temerity to refuse to pay a Mallorquin lawyer, he goes on to state that Colclough had commited "no misconduct", even having gone to another lawyer for advice over the excess fees!
It is clear than the part payment of legal costs made to Mr Colclough directly by Mallorquin Hotel magnate Miguel de Arriba, and not to his Mallorquin lawyer directly, which could have easily been arranged, was intended to allow Mr Colclough to manage HIS OWN legal costs. The management of Mr Colcloughs legal costs, which were spread across several lawyers and not just the one mentioned, is clearly a Civil matter, and certainly the abusive use of the Criminal justice system to pressurise Mr Colclough into paying an additional 40,000 Euros in costs was a criminal matter in itself, which unfortunately lies with Juan Carrau, Palma de Mallorca State Prosecutor, who is unlikely to investigate a case of his corruption against himself or his own office.
The entire Sentence is available here for those that are interested in a very very weird sentence issued by the highest court of the "...Republic" of Mallorca: not forgetting that for some strange reason Madrid decided Baleares needed its own home grown legal system!
OUR OPINION IS THAT THE BALEARES HIGH COURT IS LESS THAN 100% TRUSTWORTHY.
Message to Spanish Authorities: If you want to be part of Europe, follow the standard profesional conduct guidlines, and follow the law to the letter, or return to the Peseta. If you continue to allow lawyers, judges, spanish businessmen and prosecutors to use the Spanish legal system as a weapon against other European nationals you will undermine Spains credibility at enormous economic cost.
NEWS: The Spanish office "Abogacia Español" has rejected the complaint against Ramis and refuses to consider any issues or evidence.
The lawyer Javier Perez Roldan acting for the British man, has advised his client that although the Abogacia Español has said that an appeal may be made, that it is in fact a waste of time as there is no requirement under Spanish law for the Abogacia to consider an appeal!
OUR OPINION IS THAT THE ABOGACIA ESPAÑOL IS A PUBLIC BODY THAT IS NOT TO BE TRUSTED.
The Colegio de Abogados decided to allow all of Xisco Ramis' excessive legal fees and refuse to consider any complaint for the surprise overbilling. The fact that they think its jusgt fine for any Spanish lawer to raise his bill from 17,000 to 57,000 euros against an earlier agreement makes dealing with Spanish lawyers a highly risky business, especially if youre a foreigner!
Lawyers in Mallorca
Score: 1 - 5 (5 excellent)
1. Francisco José Ramis Ripoll (Ed. Europa, Convent Caputxines, Palma de Mallorca): 1: Not recommended, considered to be corrupt and dishonest.
Recording showing the worrying legal situation in Palma de Mallorca for foreigners
Audio recording (transcription in English and Spanish) of Francisco José Ramis Ripoll (Xisco Ramis) offering to accept "only" 17,000 euros without invoice from a British client, when later he invoiced the same client 57,000 euros, then he reduced the charge to 30,000 euros. The recording has been banned by the Mallorquin Judge Magdalena Ferrete Sole for being "impertinent" and impossible to understand (judge for yourself!), thereby not allowing the British client any defence against this lawyers outrageous claims. You can see the Auto issued by the "impertinent" judge: Page 1 and Page 2.
The British man has issued a complaint regarding this lawyer to the College of Abogados in Palma, which can be read here. The Colegio de Abogados (Lawyers College), has offered to respond to the complaint within 2 months, but not before the British man is held up in the Penal Court in Palma on Thursday 28th April!
Spanish judge's unbelievable excuses rejecting the evidence given by a British defendant: Note that Judge Magdalena Ferrete Sole has stated that the court has had "Insufficient time to transcribe the recording", that the recording is "Impertinent" and "Cannot be understood", so she has decided to not allow it to be presented in defense of the British man, now threatened by the Spanish prosecutor, with 3 years prison! We believe that this judge is acting improperly, and in a biased and unjust favour of the Mallorquin lawyer.
Judge Magdalena Ferrete Sole has responded to the compaint made by a British resident to Spain's CGPJ, the office responsable for their Courts, saying that she never denied to give a copy of the document he says that she forced him to sign, which was utterly illegible. However, we have seen the video of the hearing, and the document, which is indeed illegible, and the judge does indeed refuse to give a copy of the documents, stating that they had no time and other heaings waiting. This video will shortly be presented here and also supplied to the Spanish CJPJ, and we wait to see if they will act against judges that tell lies openly and disrespect the legal rights of european citizens, or whether they will look the other way!
Concepcion Ariño Pelicer, one of the Palma Prosecutors, has stated that she agrees with the local lawyer Xisco Ramis, in claiming that the British man had tried to "enrich" himself "criminally" by refusing to pay the lawyer until he sent the correct invoice of up to 17,000 euros and not the 57,000 euros as the lawyer had sent, and whats more, the British man asked that the lawyers invoice be taxed by the Court to check its correctness, understandable given that the lawyer·s first invoice for 16,000 euros was reduced as excessive by the local Law Colege to just 2,000 euros! Talk about overcharging! Given that it would be impossible to just "run off" without paying the lawyer, the statement by the Prosecutor Concepcion Ariño is quite riddiculous, especially given the ease in which the lawyer could simply demand the British man, who has a house in Establiments. Lets also not forget that the British man had paid the lawyer 6,000 euros in good faith, only to sign an out-of-court agreement with local business, that offered 17,000 euros to cover his legal fees, which the lawyer said he would accept, only then to go back on his word and send bills to 57,000 euros, leaving the man out of pocket to the sum of 40,000 euros, and this from a case he had won at the high court against local rather dishonest businessmen! Concepcion Ariño has now abandoned the case, to be replaced by a small bald Prosecutor who the judge, Magdalena Ferrete Sole, refuses to name! Talk about a set-up!
News update: 12 December 2012: The Illustrious College of Spanish Lawyers in Mallorca has decided that 38,000 euros of the fees officially declared by Mallorquin lawyer Francisco Ramis are reasonable despite Ramis confirming that he would only charge his British client 17,000 euros if he signed the settlement with the Spanish businessmen, who had been trying to coerce him into handing over his designs without paying, against the threat of never-ending litigation!
News update: 2 July 2012: The Spanish body dealing with complaints against lawyers in Madrid has responded that "if you dont get a reply in 6 months, you can appeal again!". It seems that the Spanish "justice" system is about as useless and corrupt as it was 500 years ago, and even though Spain is in the Euopean Union, as of this date, there is no real desire to bring any form of quality control to the service.
The opinion of this organisation is don't do business in Mallorca as it is simply not safe!
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Mallorquin Prosecutor loses case against British man - see the "Trial", a true Spanish fiasco!
Incompetent or perhaps corrupt Mallorquin prosecutor, Concepcion Ariño and her coleagues at the Palma Government Prosecutors department, lost their case to imprison a British Man for 3 years in an utterly abusive and riddiculous misuse of Spain's legal system. Amazingly, they have appealed in a desperate effort to overturn a sentence that makes them look utterly corrupt.
The Spanish prosecutors involved with this case have been refusing to give their names, but as can be seen in the video, the very young Spanish prosecutor acts in what seems a childish manner, repeatedly asking the British man, "What did you do with the money?", without even first determining that she had any right to know, or that the money was the patrimony of the lawyer, Xisco Ramis, and not simply legal costs paid out that the lawyer had no direct claim over, least not til his bills were finalised!
More news will be published shortly. We await the final verdict from the Baleares High Court, a verdict that may reflect more on the state of the State, than on one man's fate!
CORRUPT Court in Palma de Mallorca? Can we trust the Spanish justice officials?
In a hearing held in Penal Court No. 2 of Palma de Mallorca yesterday, 28 April 2011, the judge, Magdalena Ferrete, failed to record the hearing as required by the Spanish law 147 LEC, and insisted that a British Citizen and fellow of the British Royal Society, with property in Mallorca, sign a handwritten letter, written by the judge, that he was unable to read for the scrawl of her writing. Withholding his passport, the British man eventually signed the letter, but adding to the side "unable to read this", which was not noted by the staff until after he had left, with his passport. He had asked for a typed copy, but even this was refused.
The British citizen asked for a copy of the document the judge insisted he sign, and was told he had no right to a copy! We believe this was against the Spanish Citizens Rights charter.
The judge was Magdalena Ferrete Sole, REFUSED to name the Spanish Prosecutor, a small bald man with glasses, without giving reason. His name was also omitted from Court documents. Is this how a European member state Court should be managed? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sentence issued 3 months later!
In a sentence issued by the Mallorquin Judge, Magdalena Ferrete, she declaired the British citizen to be innocent of all charges made by his ex lawyer, Francisco Ramis. Strangely, although entirely innocent, she refused to allow the defendant's lawyer's request for his legal costs. The judge stated that Mallorquin lawyer, Francisco Ramis, had not made the claim in bad faith in her view, so he therefore should not have to pay the legal costs incurred by the defendant. The Judge's sentence has been appealed by the lawyer Xisco Ramis and the Palma Prosecutors department. The defendant says that he believes that both the Palma Prosecutor and his ex-lawyer are unprofessional and utterly corrupt.
Related case documents:-
Letter of complaint (queja al) to Judge Enrique Morrel Garcia, copied to Giles Paxman, British Ambassador, and Paul Abrey, British Consul in Mallorca.
Colegio de Abogados - their letter reducing Ramis· invoice from 16,064 to 2,000 euros for overcharging:-
Audio recording (transcription in English and Spanish) of Miguel de Arriba, Spanish (Mallorquin) hotel owner, where he states that in return for the company shares belonging to a British resident, he would pay his salary that they had blocked since 2006. The Spanish National Police refused to investigate the British resident' s complaint of coercion and the filing of falsified accounts by Mr. Arriba and his associate, Pedro Quintana Molinas.
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