Detectives investigating the murder of notorious timeshare fraudster John ‘Goldfinger’ Palmer, have appealed again for information.
John Palmer was murdered before he could face a multi-million fraud trial in Spain. He was due to be a ‘Key defendant’, but now the trial has concluded, police are reissuing the appeal. They hope that now the trial is over, and ended with several individuals facing lengthy prison sentences, ‘changing loyalties’ could mean some individuals in the criminal underworld would be willing to come forward with information. Detectives said that the timing of the criminal charges in relation to the Spanish trial has always been seen as a possible motive for the murder.
Palmer, 65, once described as Britain’s richest criminal, was shot dead in the grounds of his Essex mansion in June 2015 in what police believe was a contract killing. In 2001 he was found guilty of masterminding the largest timeshare fraud on record and jailed for eight years. He served just over half his sentence. It is reported that he scammed £30 million from around 20,000 people through his timeshare fraudulent activities and amassed a fortune of £300 million. He was even ranked 105th, topping the queen on the Sunday Time’s Rich List. Despite this, Palmer declared bankruptcy in 2005 with debts of £3.9 million.
In 2007, he was arrested, again, on charges including fraud. He served two years in a high security Spanish jail but was released on bail. Palmer, who once owned a Jet, two helicopters and a yacht was thought to be consumed by greed, plotted with others to take customers for every penny through a buy-sell scam, which promised to sell customers timeshares at an inflated price within a specific timeframe, if they agreed to purchase another property from Palmer.
Owners were promised huge profits, but most were left with two timeshares and mounting debts. The timeshare rescale scheme was nothing more than a scam designed to take money from unsuspecting customers who were desperate to get rid of their timeshare properties.
Detectives believe the end of a trial in Madrid, in which several business associates of Palmer were convicted of selling worthless timeshares and package holidays, could lead to a change in loyalties in the criminal underworld. Detective Superintendent Stephen Jennings, who is leading the investigation, said: “There is always nervousness within the underworld when a trial is looming. Now that it has concluded people may feel they can talk to us. We know that the key to solving Mr Palmer’s murder lies within the underworld. Loyalties do change and people may now feel able to come forward.”