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RIU hotel's CEO, owner faces corruption charges in Miami

Published:Tuesday | February 13, 2018 | 12:59 PM
A section of the adults-only Riu Palace Jamaica Hotel in Montego Bay, St James. Contributed

The Miami Herald is reporting that owner and chief executive officer (CEO) of Spain's RIU hotel chain, Luis Riu Guell was jailed yesterday after being charged with unlawful compensation and conspiracy to commit unlawful compensation.

Riu is accused of giving free luxury resort stays to Miami's former top building official in exchange for concessions on building permit regulations and fees.

He was charged along with the hotel chain's regional vice-president, Alejandro Sanchez.

Both were jailed after surrendering in Miami Dade yesterday.

They were released on bond last night.

Miami Beach's former building official, Mariano Fernandez, was charged by prosecutors last week.

The criminal charges stem from the renovation of the RIU Plaza Hotel in Miami Beach.

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.

Miami Dade State Attorney's office believes that Fernandez helped RIU with permitting, even allowing them to avoid fines while he regularly solicited free and complimentary rooms for him and employees.

The arrest of RIU's CEO and owner comes as the Spanish hotel chain is expanding its business, with four new resorts opening this year and major renovations of five existing properties.

RIU owns and operates six resorts in Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Negril, Jamaica.