Brits were “guaranteed” 2,500 euros each to lodge false food
British lawyers who encouraged UK holiday makers to put in false food poisoning claims against Spanish hotels promised them 2,500 euros each, police have revealed.
The payout equated to just 40 per cent of the total coughed up by hotels in a bid to avoid more costly court cases.
The so-called “claim farmers” kept the other 60 per cent as their fee and promised a 98 per cent success rate on their websites.
Spanish police are continuing their probe into the massive scam and bank accounts of a number of firms are being examined.
A British woman based in Mallorca is still being investigated as the alleged ringleader in the Balearics, together with three other suspects. They deny involvement.
The food poisoning scam has swept across Spain in recent years but came into the spotlight last summer when fed-up hoteliers and big hotel chains announced “enough was enough” and called in the police.
The claim farmers physically approached British holidaymakers in all the Spanish hotspots, including the mainland, the Canaries and the Balearics. Hoteliers estimated it has cost them millions of euros in payouts.
Returning holidaymakers were also contacted by the law firms when holiday snaps were spotted on the social network and encouraged to put in a false claim for food poisoning they never had.
The tourists, all of them British, only needed to show a copy of a pharmacy’s bill for the purchase of a medication. In many cases, claims were made three years after these clients had stayed at the hotel, making it impossible for the employer to prove that they were lying, say investigators.
According to an update from Spanish police, researchers have analysed the websites of some of these British law firms and it has been found that each client was assured they would receive an average of 2,500 euros in compensation for their individual claim. This money re-financed their holidays.
A judge investigating from Mallorca has enlisted the help of the British police to collaborate since the claims were raised in the United Kingdom and the law firms involved in the plot operate in Britain.
Several British tourists have already been prosecuted for putting in false food claims and the British Government has tightened up procedures.
The court in La Palma has lifted a secrecy order into the investigation which is ongoing.