Published on Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Owner of major hotel chain faces corruption charges

The head of Spanish chain RIU Hotels & Resorts has handed himself in to Miami police to answer corruption charges.

Luis Riu Guell Junior flew from Spain to face allegations he provided free accommodation in exchange for favours from the then building department director for the City of Miami Beach, Mariano Fernandez.

It related to permits for the renovation the Hotel RIU Plaza Miami Beach.

Fernandez was arrested last week after a long investigation into his conduct, which led to him being fired from his post last year.

Prosecutors claimed RIU was having issues with the permitting process before Fernandez helped out and was given free and deeply discounted stays at RIU hotels, which were approved by RIU managers.

It was alleged the entire Miami Beach building department was given discounted stays at RIU resorts in Mexico and the Dominican Republic in 2015 and 2016 for so-called 'team building.'

Riu Guell posted $20,000 bail.

Along with Fernandez and RIU regional vice president, Alejandro Sanchez del Arco, he is charged with unlawful compensation and conspiracy to commit unlawful compensation.

"We are confident that our clients have committed no crime whatsoever," Riu Guell's attorney said.

Rui Guell runs RIU with his sister which was established by their grandparents and has more than 100 hotels in 19 countries.

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