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Sour Grapes – Bodega Stratvs Planning Fraud Laid Bare

Wednesday March 18, 2015

Sour Grapes – Bodega Stratvs Planning Fraud Laid Bare

Bodega Stratvs was the stylish winery raking in big profits for wealthy local developer and entrepreneur Juan Francisco Rosa. But now those dreams have withered on the vine as the entire business was built on fraudulent planning applications and flagrant flouting of local development laws according to court prosecutors in the island capital of Arrecife.

Bodega Stratvs first opened its doors as a vineyard to much acclaim, as the stylish buildings, lavish gardens and restaurant became an instant hit with tourists visiting the La Geria region. Several of its wines went on to gain plaudits and praise at Spanish and international wine festivals and the bodega shop extended its range of articles on sale to include gourmet cheeses, temptingly packaged chocolates and other delicatessen style sundries.

But all was not well with the newest wine producer on Lanzarote. Despite an annual income in excess of a million Euros, there were rumours that the bodega could soon be closing its doors. This eventually came about in December 2013, when the buildings were festooned with official police tape forbidding entry, effectively closing the business to the public.

It appears that the very foundation upon which the Bodega was built was a carpet of lies, misrepresentation and downright fraud. From the initial planning application made in the name of the architect’s wife, without her knowledge and signatures the entire basis on which the business was founded was a lie.

Far from reforming the existing finca and house that used to occupy the site, the developer tore down the old buildings, constructing in its place a complex of buildings which cover more than 12,000 square metres, somewhat over the original 900 metre square proposal.

The sophistication of the deception is illustrated by the fact that sixteen other co-defendants are under scrutiny from the courts, including the architect and co-owner, Miguel Angel Armas Matallana and employees of the local Ayuntamiento of Yaiza, the Cabildo of Lanzarote and even an official from the Environment Department at the Canarian Government. The latter body is considered to have the final say over planning applications, especially where they concern land that has been classified as part of a protected rural area, making this official’s involvement all the more shocking.

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