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RIU hotel chain owner charged with unlawful compensation

Barry Wax, attorney for RIU Hotel owner Luis Riu Guell
 
The owner of the RIU Hotels and Resorts chain, which has operations in Jamaica and other countries, is facing legal woes.
 
This follows allegations that Luis Riu Guell gave free and luxury resort stays to Miami Beach's top building official in exchange for help with the company's large-scale renovation of its South Beach hotel in Florida.
 
After flying in from Spain, Mr. Riu walked into a Miami-Dade courtroom on Monday where he was handcuffed and processed. 
 
Alejandro Sanchez del Arco, the company's regional vice president, who is also implicated in the matter, surrendered to the police. 
 
They are all charged with unlawful compensation and conspiracy to commit unlawful compensation. 
 
Barry Wax, the attorney representing Mr. Riu, said the men agreed to post a US$20,000 bond.
 
He said both men are still able to travel internationally and conduct business while the charges are pending. 
 
"We are confident that our clients have committed no crime whatsoever, and we are very anxious to prove their innocence," he insisted. 
 
Prosecutors last week charged Miami Beach's former building official, Mariano Fernandez.
 
According to the Miami Herald newspaper, the Miami Beach building department was in charge of permitting and inspections on the massive overhaul that took place between October 2013 and June 2016.
 
The Miami-Dade State Attorney's office believes that Mr. Fernández helped RIU with permitting, even allowing it to skirt fines, all while he regularly solicited free rooms for him and his employees.
 
Prosecutors relied on a trove of internal emails to file charges.
 


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