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Timeshare fraud boss walks free after jail ordeal.

A former businessman, extradicted from Spain after his timeshare venture at a Midland stately home collapsed with debts of pounds 5million, yesterday received a 15-month jail sentence for fraud.

Graham Maynard admitted three charges of dishonesty, but walked free from Birmingham Crown Court because he had already served eight-and-half months while on remand.

Judge Derek Stanley told Maynard the balance of his sentence would take the form of a suspended sentence.

He added that he had taken in account the time Maynard had served in "very unpleasant conditions in a Spanish jail" where he was beaten by Colombian drug dealers.

Judge Stanley imposed a six-month sentence for fraudulent trading and nine months concurrently on each of two offences of fraudulently disposing of assets while bankrupt. No order for compensation was made.

The 55-year-old entrepreneur, who lived in a luxury apartment in Nerja on the Costa del Sol, built up Walton Hall in Wellesbourne, Warwickshire, into one of the country's most successful timeshare ventures in the 1980s.

But the court was told by Mr David Spens QC, defending, that when the recession hit in the late 1980s, the leisure industry was badly affected and Maynard's business suffered.

He said Maynard had been regarded as a "man of integrity" in an industry which had "not received a good press" and had been "one of the leading time share developers in the UK and Spain".

Maynard had also been a spokesman for the Timeshare Developers' Association for several years.

Mr John Mitting QC, prosecuting, said customers of Walton Hall paid for a week in a particular apartment at the stately home and leisure complex, with the average investment being around pounds 4,000 to pounds 5,000. But when the business began experiencing problems, families who resold their apartments through Maynard's company Walton Hall Ltd had not been paid after their transactions had gone through.

The court was told Barclays Bank called in the company's debt and Maynard turned to the Bank of Ireland, who agreed a loan of pounds 3.2 million just weeks before Walton Hall Ltd went into receivership.

Mr Mitting said Maynard then transferred ownership and assets of three companies, Pipstone Properties, Kirkhome Ltd and Timon Ltd, to his daughter, his wife and his former business partner.

Mr Spens said although Maynard went to Spain after the collapse of Walton Hall Ltd it was not a question of him fleeing there.

He said he was free to go to Spain of his own free will and that the police investigation into his affairs did not begin until 1990 and took five years to complete.

He said the businessman did not fight his extradition although, as a resident in Spain since 1973, when there was no extradition treaty between Spain and the UK, he could have stayed there.

Mr Spens said the time Maynard had spent in a Spanish jail had been particularly hard and that while there he had suffered injury at the hands of three Colombian drug dealers.

He said Maynard had begun his career modestly as a salesman in Spain but had risen, by the mid-80s into one of the principal time share developers.

Maynard's particular skill, he said, was in marketing and that he had no formal business qualifications.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Feb 6, 1998
Words:543
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