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ONE MAN'S VIEW

On Thursday each week my column appears in the Euro Weekly News. My opinion is just that, an opinion. Feel free to put your oar in but in a constructive way if you please. Thanks so much. - Michael

GUESS WHO IS DOING TIME
26 June 2013

How ironic that the Mediterranean’s must successful timeshare conman should call his autobiography My Time to Share. The 66-year old crook, Toni Muldoon, is now doing time in Britain. When in the near future he is sentenced he is bound to have a great deal of time to share.

There was no point in a not guilty plea. Muldoon was always self-effacing. The master crook admitted in court to his role in a £5.7 million fraud that duped 14,000 victims.

With his share of this and other scams Muldoon indulged himself with head-turning vehicles, marina yachts and sumptuous villas. Who says crime doesn’t pay, I thought to myself.

Pride comes before the fall. It was Muldoon’s conceit that brought him to my door. He needed a good ghost-writer to tell his life story. If I were playing the devil’s advocate I could be charitable and say the fiscal thug wanted to get it off his chest. A penitent he was not. He boasted, preened himself as he explained to me that he was the Mediterranean region’s most successful timeshare swindler ever.

As the region is notorious for sharks, the human species that is, his claim was breathtaking. “Hang on,” I said. “Your memoirs are going to be an admission of guilt. The ink won’t be dry on them when you get the pre-dawn kick on the door.”

Muldoon was unfazed and shrugged my concerns off. Perhaps with the benefit of hindsight he knew the game was up. His memoirs, now completed, were to be the last two fingers to an ethical world he had rejected

He is, in fairness, one of the most resourceful although admittedly immoral characters I ever met. The dictionary term for amoral is to be without moral, to abandon the concept of good and bad.

Muldoon scammed not for food, rent or to feed his family. The big shot in trainers and trackies was motivated only by the compulsion to trick and treat - himself. I got to know Toni Muldoon perhaps better than anyone else in his life. To get the better of another person, even for a few euros, would prove his superiority. He would trick someone for €5 at a time when he was worth millions. Perhaps time spent with a psychiatrist would be the better solution.

Enjoy your time to share, Toni. Because you will be better known for the company you now keep society showed that at the end of your disgraceful life you were the biggest loser of all. By the way, my friend, your memoirs make a truly mesmerising read. I am sure you will have time to read them over and over again.

Mike Walsh quite_write@yahoo.co.uk

www.michaelwalsh.es

 



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NATION SHALL SPEAK UNTO NATION! REALLY?
24 June 2013

 

When the USSR collapsed it was believed that once again, for the first time since the Soviet overthrow of Tsarist Russia, Europe was united. Far from it. The concept of a united Europe is still a distant dream.

The European Union is made up of 27 nations. However, there are 47 countries in Europe to which can be added European Russia.

An irony is that many of these European lands are historically and culturally more European than many Western European nations. Their peoples are shocked at what they see as the multi-racial cosmopolitan decadence of the West.

I was stunned when years ago, a German-American friend who I knew was passionately anti-Communist, said he welcomed the Soviet Union’s occupation of Eastern Germany. He explained that eventually the Soviet regime would collapse. Then, the former occupied states, held in a time warp, would be much as they were before the Second World War. “However,” he added, “much of the liberal West will by then have poisoned its own roots.”

What gets my goat are the difficulties and formidable barriers fellow Europeans encounter when they wish to visit the Western sector. The barbed wire and frontier posts still divide us. The fact that the European Union is governed by unelected bankocrats does not help.

I have many Russian friends and a Ukrainian wife. Nadia’s nation is the largest nation in Europe. Our locked out family hold our values and in fact cherish and nurture them more than we do. We could learn much from them and the European Russians. However, you wouldn’t believe the expensive mind-numbing procedures Eastern Europeans and Russians go through to spend even a holiday in our half of Europe. 

Spare me guff about their wanting to leach our benefits. Russia’s economy and much of the former Eastern Bloc’s nations economies are doing far better than ours.  Recently, there was disbelief from a Latvian and a Ukrainian when I told them about the extremes of poverty and unemployment here. Yes, ignorance of each others countries is another thing but that can be saved for another article. What we desperately need is a truly free Europe much as it was before it was bricked in by politicians.



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ROGUE TENANTS? WHAT ABOUT ROGUE OWNERS?
21 June 2013

 

 

ROGUE TENANTS? WHAT ABOUT ROGUE OWNERS?

 

Rogue tenants? What about rogue owners, a breed we hear little about. I have experienced at first hand owner scams and can vouch for many others. The drug addict owner who became hysterical if the rent was a day or so late. This occasionally occurred at weekends during bank transfer.

 

Another owner was so friendly that when she invited her departing tenant to sign the deposit refund receipt on the promise of a bank transfer the trusting tenant did so. After two months waiting she questioned why it had not been transferred. The flat’s owner told her she had done so - and had the signed receipt to prove it.

 

Another owner agreed that utilities were to be included in a single person’s rent. When she discovered that the tenant’s girlfriend had holidayed with him for two months of the year’s occupancy she demanded payment of the utilities for the entire period. The owner of a furnished property expected her tenant to buy and update white goods.

 

Owners and their agents are notorious for keeping deposits. They know the cost of legal action is higher than the forfeited deposit. Tenants pay the rent but do not expect a receipt unless as in the previous case a bogus one.

 

Whilst screwing the taxman owners figure out how to screw their tenants too. They expect references but refuse to show references from previous tenants.

 

Tenants maintain the property, often improve it and always secure it for which they get no credit. Oh yes, tenancy contracts. These are heavily loaded in the owner or agent’s favour. They are unfairly worded and in fact when signing such a contract a hapless tenant signs away his or her rights.

 

Do as the hotels do. Provide long or medium term accommodation based on service and integrity. By doing so property owners will benefit from winter lets that could end up as long term lets or even a sale. ©



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A SHOT IN THE ARM FOR SPAIN
18 June 2013

RUSSIA’S ROUBLE RICH

 

 

Described as ‘saviours’ of the property and tourist markets, the emerging Russian presence on Spain’s Mediterranean coast is a blessing. It is hoped our business community does not lose the opportunity to take advantage of it.

The Costa communities’ economic mainstay is based on our sub-tropical climate. Like moths drawn to a flame, northern Europeans are attracted to our sun kissed climate. Russia, despite being the world’s largest country, like Canada, is geographically north. It has few options to offer sun-starved Russians.

Russian investors and tourists boost the economies of the Mediterranean basin’s resorts. Fifty per cent of Russian trade is with the European Union and its German turnover is €57 billion.

Russia’s economy, compared to that of the European Union, is booming. Spending by Russia’s nouveau rich and emerging middle class is exceptional.

Spain has intense competition. It shares the Mediterranean with nearly twenty other nations, half of them hungry for tourists. Rival France has its Mediterranean, Germany its spa towns and idyllic southern states, Italy its Italian Riviera, Greece its islands.

EU nations do take advantage of the Russian speaking influx. Legislation in Poland, Ireland, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland and Georgia, has been eased to meet the needs of the big-spending Russian invasion.

The economies of former Eastern European nations are increasingly based on the Russian rouble. To show their friendliness towards the Russians, the Czechs snubbed the U.S. Short trip visas are now more easily acquired. Border controls offer an easier and faster welcome to the high spending Russians.

The Polish City of Gdansk, formerly Germany‘s Danzig, benefits to the tune of €20 million spending each month by Kaliningrad’s cross-border Russian consumers.

A Costa company recently contacted my Ukrainian-Russian wife, Nadia. Prepared to invest in their health service related business they intend to target the Russian speaking community. Naturally, they wanted their marketing in the Russian language.

Their business acumen has to be applauded. Russian property buyers have overtaken the British, German and Scandinavian markets. Much the same can be said of tourism. To their credit, the investment conscious local authorities, builders, developers and tourist bodies are laying out the red carpet. Will the business community stay in bed?

The arriving Russians are loaded and are here to stay. The internet means they can run their homeland businesses from their Spanish villas.

The secretary of Provia (Association of Real Estate Developers Alicante) concedes the Russians are an important market. Altea’s prestigious Villa Gadea Hotel and Torrevieja government recently hosted a real estate event aimed at Russian buyers. Business community readers should note the words of Antoni Mayor of the Benidorm Hotel Association. “It is a goldmine we have yet to exploit.”

Far too often, potentially successful Costa community businesses have been blamed for complacency. Truly entrepreneurial rivals, like the Russians, will soon set up rival businesses. If so, it could be the last nail in the coffin for complacent businesses.



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