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Thu Apr 24 05:43:18 SAST 2014

Getafe swindled by fake Arab investors

Sapa-AP | 27 June, 2012 14:570 Comments
FC Barcelona v Getafe CF  - Liga BBVA
Isaac Cuenca of Barcelona (L) duels for the ball with Tshepo Masilela of Getafe during the La Liga match at Camp Nou on April 10, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain
Image by: David Ramos / Getty Images

Seven people claiming to represent investors from Dubai and Egypt with interest in investing in Spanish businesses and football teams were arrested after checks, they deposited for the purchase of Spain’s first-division club Getafe failed to clear.

Six of the seven of those in custody are Spanish, and one of them is from the Dominican Republic, police said on Wednesday.

The Mossos d’Esquadra, the Catalan regional police, said that before making the supposed investments the individuals, who are now in custody, requested business owners to deposit money into a bank account as “collateral.” They then withdrew the funds and the businesses never received the investment.

Police did not say how much money Getafe or other businesses lost.

Getafe president Angel Torres signed agreements supposedly worth 10 million euros ($12.5 million), but the two checks he received failed to clear, police said, adding that the alleged swindlers paid a Brazilian, who had worked as a waiter, to pose as a wealthy Arab sheik in meetings with potential scam victims.

Torres and team captain, Manuel del Moral, flew to Dubai in April 2011 to attend a news conference, where a Dubai business group called The Royal Emirates Group of Companies had announced it had bought Getafe for at least $100 million.

Kaiser Rafiq, a man introduced at the event as a partner and managing director of the business conglomerate, said the club has been valued between $100 and $130 million. He told reporters that the investors had paid 70 to 75% up front in cash for the club, and had insisted that none of the funds were coming from Dubai’s rulers.

The chairman of the conglomerate had been introduced at the news conference as Sheik Butti bin Suhail Al Maktoum.

The Dubai government at the time denied any involvement in the deal, and said the Gulf city state’s ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, had no knowledge of it.

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