10 February 2009 - Gary Robb and the Aga Saga
Mr Gary Robb is the former owner of the Blue Monkey, a Teeside nightclub / rave joint. He was arrested by the Cleveland police in 1996 after some 200 police in full riot gear carried out a drugs raid on the premises. He was charged with conspiracy to supply Ecstasy and amphetamines.
His brother, James Robb, was convicted and given a 10 year sentence after a raid on the Colosseum club in Stockton. Apparently the brothers either owned or controlled 5 clubs in the North East of England. He had apparently faced Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) charges on several occasions during the course of his career, although some may consider this to be an occupational hazard in his profession..
Mr Gary Robb disappeared while on bail and subsequently surfaced in North Cyprus. He claims to be innocent of all charges and hopes to return to the UK, at some future date, in order to clear his name.
Cleveland police have recently confirmed that the warrant for Mr Robb remains on file and that he will be arrested should he return to the UK.
Mr Robb formed a TRNC company, Aga Developments Ltd, and commenced several construction projects in the TRNC.
The main development is at Arapkoy, to the east of Kyrenia and off the mountain road to Nicosia and Ercan airport. On this site, some 246 properties remain under construction. The site is called Amaranta Valley, and the sad tale is often referred to as the Aga Saga.
Work at Arapkoy was halted in September 2005 when Gary Robb disappeared from the TRNC. On this occasion, he resurfaced in Thailand. He stated that he had hoped to start another property company in Thailand and help with re-construction after the Tsunami disaster.
During his stay in Thailand he apparently remarried. His wife is an Ethiopian born lady, and they now have several children.
His honeymoon stay in Thailand was curtailed when he attempted to transfer some £1.5 million from a UK bank account. It is no surprise that the UK authorities had frozen the funds as he remains a fugitive from UK justice. Things got worse when the TRNC authorities froze his North Cyprus bank accounts, although it is unclear as to the value of funds held in these accounts. The TRNC government also revoked Mr Robb's TRNC citizenship, based on the allegation that his claim to have performed military service in the UK was false. This means that he was eligible for army service in TRNC prior to being granted citizenship. His plant and equipment was apparently seized and impounded by TRNC customs officials due to paperwork and tax irregularities. The Greek Republic of Cyprus issued an international arrest warrant based on the charge that he had built on Greek land in the TRNC.
Mr Gary Robb then negotiated a deal with the TRNC government whereby he would be able to return to North Cyprus, and stay out of jail, provided he completed the Amaranta Valley project. As it was rumoured that the UK police were seeking to extradite him from Thailand, a return to TRNC seemed the better option.
Upon his return to North Cyprus in May 2006, Amaranta Valley was not the only property problem facing him. In fairness to Mr Robb, it would seem that several of his colleagues and business associates lacked loyalty and sought to profit from his misfortune. The precise details of several business arrangements have not been published. A solicitor, Akan Kursat, claims to have held 51 percent of the shares in Aga Development Construction Ltd but that the majority of these shares were transferred to Gary Robb without his consent. This allegedly took place on 18 August 2005 for the sum of 1,018 YTL, and the matter came to light after a routine search at Companies House, Nicosia.
There is a development of some 20 detached properties at Catalkoy, on the beach side of the road, behind the football stadium. This development is almost complete and the properties have mains electric and tarmac access roads. However, even on this development, there is uncertainty concerning the title deeds. We are informed by a lawyer who has represented some 10 UK buyers that there is no prospect of title deeds being issued in the foreseeable future. This is possibly because the title deeds may have been held by Mr Robb in his own name, rather than in the name of Aga Developments Ltd. A person is only able to hold more than 1 donum of land if he is a TRNC citizenship. As Mr Robb's TRNC citizenship has been revoked, this would place any title deeds he held in limbo.
In each of his developments, Mr Gary Robb has been accused of double selling. That is, selling the same property to several UK customers and taking deposits and stage payments off each.
In early January 2008, an agreement was reached between Mr Robb and some 200 UK customers of Amaranta Valley. Mr Robb agreed to undertake a survey of the site and to demolish those properties which had decayed beyond repair due to the weather and landslip. The remaining properties would be completed in some 12 months provided the customers paid the remaining monies due to Aga Developments Ltd under their original contracts of sale. It was stressed that the customers would only need to pay any outstanding funds which were due. This latter point took some considerable time to negotiate, as it was reported that an additional sum of some £7,000 per customer would be required prior to the re-comencement of work.
In order for Mr Robb to recommence construction, a considerable number of injunctions needed to be lifted on the developments. These were taken out by aggrieved purchasers when work stopped in 2005 and Mr Robb left North Cyprus. The purpose of these injunctions was to prevent Aga Developments Ltd from disposing of the properties or borrowing funds on the security on the properties. However, the number of injunctions is apparently quite large. In addition, many injunctions refer to the entire site at Amaranta Valley rather than an individual property and we understand that several injunctions cover all Mr Robb's business interests in North Cyprus. The lifting of these injunctions will take some time to complete and will incur significant legal fees.
Should a customer be so disenchanted that he/she does not want to take occupation of the property, should it ever be completed, then Mr Gary Robb has offered to resell any such property and give the original buyer a full refund.
Mr Robb's health has deteriorated and he has apparently suffered a mild heart attack. He does appear to be recovering, to the intense relief of his customers. However, he remains, as ever, upbeat. He has reportedly stated that he now wishes to acquire a further 850 donums (283 acres) of adjoining land and build a total of 1,000 houses at Amaranta Valley.
Work re-commenced at Amaranta Valley in January 2008, to the surprise of many sceptics who considered the situation to be so chaotic as to render a solution near impossible. In addition to the admirable personal efforts of Mr Robb, progress has been facilitated by the actions of Ron Hugo and his colleagues of the Amaranta Buyers Committee, and the support of the TRNC government. We all look forward to further good news.
There are many contradictory reports concerning Mr Gary Robb, and we apologise for any inaccuracies.
Leslie Hardy - 14 October 2011
North Cyprus Property & Mortgage
from Wellington Estates Ltd
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