Derelict: The abandoned resort project picture (top and below)
In April 2015, a collective group of investors in a failed Moroccan holiday resort project who call them selves ‘The Core Team’ said they were thankful to King Mohammed VI for the arrest of the man behind the scandal, the project promoter, by name Larbi Tadlaoui. Tadlaoui was arrested few months prior for fraud following an order by the public prosecutor in Tangier.
Larbi Tadlaoui, Moroccan developer behind the heart of the failed resort project
But the Core Team said then, that after the arrest of Tadlaoui, a solution is yet to be found as the project was placed on the back burner. The Paradise Golf and Beach Resort (PGBR) and Atlantic Golf Resort (AGR) investors, from which some are Moroccans living abroad, are furious that the Moroccan government did not strive to find a solution to the delayed completion of the aforementioned projects, initially planned to be completed in 2010.
The case has dragged for a decade. The investors were given a land by the Moroccan Government, through the development company Atlantic Beach Paradise Resort SARL, to build an 18 hole Steve Ritson design golf course, swimming pools and approximately 400 attractive apartments and villa.
Protesters outside Moroccan embassy in London
Now, investors in Britain and other european countries fear they been defrauded of millions of dollars by the Moroccan property developer who had led them to believe his property development project had the backing of the government, a fact which the government of Morocco staunchly denies.
The group of investors, mainly British, Irish and French, say some of them are facing bankruptcy after the $24m (£16m) project was left in limbo for nearly a decade.. The developer himself has been arrested on fraud charges.
The delays have taken so long that several investors have died without ever seeing a return, while others say they put their life savings into the project and are now in “dire financial straits”.
Paradise Beach and Golf Resort and Atlantic Gold View were promoted in 2007 as five-star developments with more than 800 properties which offered lucrative returns.
And an advertising campaign for the project appeared to bear the seal of approval of the Moroccan government– which has since distanced itself from the project.
But after years of delays and investors’ anguish, the project’s developer, Larbi Tadlaoui, was arrested on fraud charges in February 2016 and remains in custody.
He denies the allegations and insists the project was backed by the Moroccan government.
There are indications that some goverment ministries including finance, industr With further evidence of an advertising campaign for the resortthat the developer had ” been selected by the government of the Kingdom of Morocco.”
However, some of the victims of the failed project are of the firm opinion that the developer misled the Moroccan government and suspect thay have been defrauded.
“There is a real concern that none of the funds are left,” one said, “ I know of one guy in his seventies who is still working because he put everything he had into this project and others are in dire financial straits.”
Claire Panay, a French investor, said: “It has come to the point now where the only person who can change things is the King of Morocco.”
However, a spokesperson for the Moroccan government said it had no ties with the project.
“[It] is a private investment project in which neither HM the King nor the Moroccan government are party,” he said.
“This has been made clear to British buyers…the private investments taking advantage of this government-backed strategy should not be misconstrued as government projects.”
A representative for Tadlaoui said he strongly denied being a fraudster and blamed the delays on a local water company.
He said: “The Paradise Golf and Beach Resort is a Moroccan Government backed Project. It is approved by the Government.
“This Project is in line with the recommendations made by His Majesty King Mohamed VI in his speech to promote tourism and attract foreign investors. This is what we did and British families believe in the Project and have invested through us.”
He added that Tadlaoui wanted to finish the project and urged the Moroccan government to release him from jail.
“[Tadlaoui] is not washing his hands of this, he knows his responsibilities,” he said.