Martinez-Echevarria to Take on MRI?
I got an email last week from a lady called Maria Reyna purporting to represent Martinez-Echevarria (ME). It would appear to be genuine as the domain name on the email was that of the Spanish law firm. The email, which has no subject, read as follows:
My name is María Reyna and I’m the local associate to the Spanish law firm Martinez-Echevarria, Lopez & Ferrero in the UK.
Although we are a Spanish-based law firm, we have branch offices in Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Brazil, Egypt, France, Italy, Germany, Morocco, Serbia and Portugal.
We are dealing today with a lot of cases similar in Morocco and recovering the money for the clients.
We are also suing MRI in Spain and in Bulgaria because a lot of our clients had problems with them.
If you want to have a meeting with me and discuss how can we assist you, please contact me.
This came as somewhat of a surprise to me on a number of fronts. Firstly I have no idea how my email address got onto ME’s database as I’ve never previously had any contact with the company. I’m not an MRI client and have never had any reason to have communications with ME. The ‘Dear Condon’ opening would suggest that this was a database run but as my email is spam blocked, somebody had to actually physically let it through my spam filter. That somebody was obviously very intent that I receive this email.
Those who have been reading my blog (there is at least one) will be aware that Martinez-Echevarria were very closely linked with MRI (MacAnthony Realty International) and its owner Darragh MacAnthony (whose blog seems to be redirecting to a Romanian domain at the moment), up to quite recently. In fact, a group of MRI clients have been in the process of taking legal proceedings against the company on the basis of their ‘far too comfortable’ relationship with the controversial overseas property agent and a consequently unacceptable representation for clients of MRI – - see here. MRI heavily promoted ME as part of their ‘hands-off purchase package’. In fact ME appeared at many of the large property exhibitions run by MRI as a favoured ‘independent legal advisor’. The level of this independence is queried very heavily by many former MRI clients.
So I replied to ME for some clarification:
I’m not actually an MRI customer, but have a keen interest in the property industry, particularly in Spain.
The only time I have come across the name of your company was when clients of MRI were threatening to sue you for your involvement with MRI and problematic purchases made through that company. Was this issue sorted out with MRI’s former clients?
On what basis are you suing MRI? I presume if you are taking cases against them you have found them to be negligent or fraudulent in some way.
Unsurprisingly I haven’t received a reply to this email and, on the basis that ME now claims that it is to take legal action against its former partner, I said I’d better get a second opinion on the communication from somebody else. Who better than a representative of MRI-SG, a group of disgruntled former MRI clients who have dedicated their time and efforts to getting refunds and justice from the former overseas property Behemoth and its legal representatives.
A spokesperson for the group said:
“I don’t believe that these emails are a genuine source of help - if anyone takes them (ME) up on it then they will charge a hefty fee and if people do not then ME will use these e-mails to show that they are working in their client’s interest and use them as evidence of their ‘client care’ when the case against them goes live.”
The spokesperson went on to contend that Santiago de la Cruz, the Managing Director of ME, still has close links with and may even still be advising, former CEO’s of MRI Darragh MacAnthony and Dominic Pickering.
The conclusion from MRI-SG is that this is a tactic devised to muddy the waters and confuse MRI clients about ME’s intentions. The feeling is that, along with making it look like the company is getting its house in order, they may even pick up a few MRI clients for a second time and relieve them of further funds.
If I ever get a response from Ms. Reyna at ME you’ll be the first to know.