Court appearances today for those accused in the false claims' operation.

07-09-2017Alejandro Sepúlveda

The national government delegate to the Balearics, Maria Salom, explained yesterday (Thursday) that an organised group responsible for a multi-million euro scam of false holiday sickness compensation claims has been dismantled as a result of the operation by the Guardia Civil.

Salom congratulated the Guardia Civil for its work over the past few months, which started after two people were arrested in Alcudia in May: they had been reported for having been approaching British holidaymakers and encouraging them to make fraudulent claims. Salom thanked the Majorca Hoteliers Federation and the British government for their cooperation. In April, she recalled, she had a meeting with the British ambassador, Simon Manley, and discussed the claims' affair. "His collaboration has been invaluable."

Figures quoted yesterday suggested that hotels across Spain have faced claims amounting to 60 million euros since 2014. The hoteliers in Majorca say that there 400 claims worth some eight million pounds in 2016; these were more than double those in 2015 (154 claims for three million pounds). However, the figures aren't definitive because claims can be made up to three years after a holiday.

The Guardia Civil's colonel-in-chief, Jaime Barceló, praised the "meticulous work" of the investigation. The real work, he added, starts now with the judicial process. He suggested that the organised group in Majorca may have some connection to other parts of Spain. Majorca is far from being alone in having been affected by the scams.

Five people, all Britons, appeared in court in Palma yesterday. The alleged leader of the organised group, L.C., had her passport withdrawn and was ordered to report weekly to the court. The four others were also released.