Maltese Timeshare Scandal Rocks Financial Circles

Former Man Utd and England star Gary Neville is 'linked to company accused of mis-selling timeshares to British holidaymakers', Brits were offered cheap holidays and then convinced to buy timeshares,They claim they were told the Malta properties were 'owned by United players', Buyers were unable to sell them on and have struggled to repay Barclays loans Neville was director of firm given permission to broker timeshare loans by FCA

By Lara Keay

Published: 21st February 2019

Former England footballer Gary Neville has been linked to a firm accused of mis-selling timeshares to British holidaymakers. The finance watchdog is investigating after £47million in loans were given to Brits looking to buy timeshares in Malta that were part-owned by Neville, 43. Customers claim they were told 'United players', including Ryan Giggs, 45, owned the properties they were investing in and given loans from Barclays to repay the money.

But the loans were brokered without the conditions being made clear and without the 'proper credit checks', a hearing of the Upper Tribunal of the Tax and Chancery Chamber was told. Judge Timothy Herrington also said the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) acted unlawfully by allowing Barclays to validate the loans, reports The Times. The timeshare sales being probed were mainly for properties at the Golden Sands resort in Malta, which is part of Radisson Blu. Former England footballer Gary Neville (left) has been linked to a firm accused of mis-selling timeshares to British holidaymakers. Customers were told other 'United players', including Ryan Giggs (right) part-owned the properties they were investing in. Former England footballer Gary Neville (left) has been linked to a firm accused of mis-selling timeshares to British holidaymakers. Customers were told other 'United players', including Ryan Giggs (right) part-owned the properties they were investing in

Buyers claimed they were cold-called and offered cheap holidays to the resort where they agreed to an investment presentation in exchange for such a low price. Many were so convinced they agreed to timeshares worth more than £10,000, with contracts of up to 25 years, the tribunal was told. They were allegedly told they would increase in value and buyers would be able to sell them on for profit easily. But some are still struggling to repay the loans, according to The Times.

Charles Rebbeck, 41, of Hastings, East Sussex, claims he got a cold call offering him a week's holiday to the Golden Sands resort for just £150. He went there in June 2014 with his wife Lisa Marie, who had been given the all-clear after cancer treatment. They went with their two daughters. Following a five-hour sales pitch, which included pictures of both footballers, he agreed to a £13,300 one-week timeshare for 25 years.

Mr Rebbeck looks after his two children on his own after his wife died in 2016. He still owes £15,000 to Barclays, is struggling to make repayments and can't find another buyer for the timeshare. He told the newspaper: 'I knew I would have to attend a sales meeting, but I had absolutely no plans to buy a timeshare. I can't believe I fell for it.' Another woman Rachel Ellor, then 24, went on holiday to Malta with her boyfriend and also agreed to a presentation.

Neville became a non-executive director of a company called Island Hotels Group Holdings in 2009 after he and Giggs invested 1.1million euros each in the company.He bought a property on the island in 2000 after 'falling in love with it' and was appointed an ambassador for Maltese tourism the year after. He told The Times of Malta: 'It is an honour to be connected so closely with Malta. Malta is very close to the heart. 'Malta has wonderful hotels and restaurants. I have seen drastic differences in 15 years during which the island has attracted different types of visitors. The timeshare sales being probed were mainly for properties at the Golden Sands resort in Malta, which is part of Radisson Blu