Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Friday, 13 January 2012

Pancho Campo MW and the Spanish Consul

Statement issued by the Spanish Consul in Abu Dhabi: 26th August 2009

Statement issued in both Spanish and Arabic (at the end of this post) on 26th August 2009 by the Spanish consul in Abu Dhabi:

A quien pueda concernir,

D. Vicente Cacha López de la Calzada, Encargado de los Asuntos Consulares de la Embajada de España en Abu Dhabi, por medio del presente escrito y de acuerdo con los antecedents que obran en nuestro archivo certifica que D. Francisco Armando Campo Carrasco solicitó la baja en la fecha de enero de 2002 derivada de su voluntad de trasladar su residencia a España.

De igual y por el mismo motive, nos solicitó la baja consular de su hija, Andreah Campo Butler y un visado para su mujer, Da Melissa Butler, para poder tener acceso al Espacio Schengen.

De igual forma, se deja constancia de que el Sr Francisco Armando Campo Carrasco era titular legitimo de un pasaporte español expedio el dia 27 de febrero de 2002 y válido hasta el 6 de junio de 2008.

En Abu Dhabi, a 26 de agosto de 2009

Vicente Cacho López de la Calzada
Segunda Jefutura/Cónsul
Embajada de España en Abu Dhabi


I’m very grateful to Harold Heckle, journalist based in Madrid and a fluent Spanish speaker, for this English translation:

To whom it may concern,
Vicente Cacho López de la Calzada, Chargé d'Affairs of Consular Matters at the Embassy of Spain in Abu Dhabi, certifies that according to details found in our archives Francisco Armando Campo Carrasco requested to be signed out at this Consulate on January 2002 based on his willingness to transfer his residence to Spain.

Similarly and for the same reason, he requested his daughter, Andreah Butler Campo, be signed out, and also sought a visa for his wife, Melissa Butler, so she may gain access to the Schengen Area.

Similarly, it is stated that Mr. Francisco Armando Carrasco Campo was the rightful holder of a Spanish passport issued on February 27, 2002 and valid until June 6, 2008.

Abu Dhabi 26th August 2009

Vicente Cacho López de la Calzada
Segunda Jefutura/Cónsul
Embajada de España en Abu Dhabi


Harold’s comments
This document is bizarre. It's really an unusual and strange document, and the reasons for requesting it must have sounded equally off the wall. Basically it says there is evidence in the files that Campo went to the Consulate and asked to be signed out.

Most people don't bother telling Consular offices to sign them in or out. For example, the British Consulate here knows me and about me, but I have never signed in, nor would I go there to tell them to sign me out when leaving the country. I've never done that in any of the five countries I've lived and worked in. It also says he was issued a passport after he was "signed out" and that the passport had an unusually limited lifespan. I think most passports issued under EU rules are valid for 10 years exactly, albeit they can have extensions if your previous passport still has time left on it at the time of requesting a new one. The principal reason for seeking a new passport with time still owing on a previous one is that you are required by most countries issuing visas to have a minimum of six months lifespan left on your passport before they issue you with a visa. I had to go through that rigmarole to get a visa to Uzbekistan, for example.

But apart from being signed out even before he has a Spanish passport, it is clear here that there is no forwarding address mentioned. All there is, is a willingness to go to Spain. Probably more than a willingness, more like an eagerness...

I can only imagine a very legalistic and complex reason being given when seeking the Consulate to issue this kind of statement.


Campo’s explanation to speakers at WineFuture Rioja09 sent September 1st 2009:

‘Before leaving, we informed the Spanish Embassy that we were moving back to Spain in case I was needed to be contacted. ‘


Melisasa Butler to Charlie Hamilton in the ‘Spanish promoter's arrest sought’ article – 
The National Charlie Hamilton Sep 20, 2009 

"We left Dubai in February 2003 with a valid passport and informed the authorities we were leaving."

Comment and speculation
It is as Harold says a rather curious document and the dates are interesting. It says that Pancho Campo went to the Spanish Embassy in Abu Dhabi in January 2002 and told them he was considering moving to Spain. Campo wasn’t smuggled out of Dubai until about a year later.

Vicente Cacho López de la Calzada issued this statement on 26th August 2009 shortly before the news of Campo’s appearance on the Interpol list broke. The story by Adam Lechmere and myself was published on on 4th September 2009, although I emailed questions to Campo on 31st August 2009.

What we don’t know is when Jackie Wartanian filed her complaint against Campo. Hamilton says that according to court papers Campo was charged on 5th June 2002 with breach of trust in relation to the around $600,000 he stole from the company. 

If Hamilton is correct that the dispute arose over ‘a CSM-organised concert that year in Dubai by the Spanish singer Enrique Iglesias’, then Iglesias must have played in Dubai in early 2002. There was certainly an Inglesias concert there that year as the concert can be downloaded but I have yet to find the date it was held. His previous appearance in Dubai was on 1st October 2000.

Was Campo already preparing an ‘alias’ ("court case was a complete surprise to me!")  for his flight from Dubai or did he indicate to the Embassy that he was considering moving to Spain in the context of wanting a visa for his wife?  

The statement in Arabic 

Vincent Pousson, who broke the story about the Murcian payments, now has a blog and his second post covers Campo being nominated as one of Verema's people of the year.  


Luc Charlier said...

The Queen’s Necklace, Mylady and the Queen, Campo and the Sultan of Dubai: what a lovely tryptic! It takes a Budd or else a Dumas to write such a story. True, I had forgotten Chevalier de Batz' friends were named Aramis, Portos and Campos.

Anonymous said...

Speculations, extrapolations. And what's your point here? How is it related to wine? Do you intend to paint a dishonest picture of pancho campo to show he's an all round villain so your original unproven accusations carry more weight? Pathetic

Jim Budd said...

Anon. Please detail unproven accusations. Thanks.

Jim Budd said...

Anon. You raise some interesting questions. I've clearly indicated what is comment and speculation.

Inevitably there is speculation here as Campo has never clarified the basis of the funding for CIE and The Wine Academy of Marbella – later to become The Wine Academy of Spain.

Was CIE Marbella entirely funded by James Butler, Melissa's father, or did Campo still have some of the around $600,000 he trousered from CSM? Did he arrive in Spain in February penniless or did he still have some of the Dubai stash? Did he fleece his business partner because he had debts in Dubai? How was The Wine Academy of Spain funded?

All valid questions first posed at least two years ago and still awaiting an answer?

Anonymous said...

Jim losing the plot again. I've no affiliation with pancho campo. Judging by your retorts you assume I do. I'm just seeing you victimise someone and object to your unprofessionalism. Another innocent victim of Jim Budd. well done.

Jim Budd said...

Anon. Thank you. I'm not assuming that you have an affiliation with Pancho Campo.

Given that Campo was convicted for stealing money from the company he ran with Jackie Wartanian, it is reasonable to ask what happened to that money and whether any of it was used to finance The Wine Academy.

Anonymous said...

As a bonafide journo, it is also reasonable to ask questions of a countrys legal systems operation. Once again, you overlook at your convenience any deeper issues. Please answer this: if a family man failed to pay a mortgage in Dubai and came to the Uk and had an Interpol listing because of that issue, would you brand them a criminal in your opinion? Just answer this directly without bringing Campo into the mix. This is important because you are too Simplistic. I would have a criminal record in Saudi Arabia if I got caught with a bottle of sancerre in my car, outside of a western compound. Would that make me a criminal in your eyes? Answer this please if you choose to publish?

Jim Budd said...

Anon. Thank you for your comment but what is relevant here is Campo's history and the details of his conviction, one year prison sentence followed by deportation are all in Charlie Hamilton's news report published in The National in September 2009 with details taken from the relevant court papers.

It may be that Campo had a defence that would have led the court to find him innocent of the charge of taking around $600,000 from his business partner and their company. However, Campo chose to flee, so was not present to put his case to the court.

Remember that Campo chose to live and run his business in Dubai from 1997 to to 2003 and therefore would be subject to laws of the country.

As I have already suggested in comments on this post the more interesting and relevant questions to consider are what did Campo do with the $600,000 he was convicted for taking from his business partner and was any of this money used in the setting up of The Wine Academy Marbella and CIE Marbella.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou. I have attached a link to this so you and your readers can get a better idea of the abuse of the Interpol system. I think this is very relevant in light of various accusations.

Anonymous said...

Believe me jim, even if I was innocent of a crime in the UAE, having lived there for 4 years, there is no way I would attend any legal hearing to determine whether I was innocent or not. I would rather leave. It is not worth the risk as laws are changed or manipulated at the whim of a judge or bureaucrat or someone with good personal or political connections.
The premise that you begin with, that money was stolen, is flawed because the system that determined that verdict cannot be relied upon
Until you have a good understanding of that society and its ways, with all due respect, I think you really are barking up the wrong tree. I truly believe your view of that particular situation is truly skewed. You can get as many official documents as you want; it's like asking the Nigerian government if corruption exists within their cabinet? 'of course there is absolutely non'.

Thanks for putting my comments up.

Jim Budd said...

Anon. Thank you but I prefer to rely on the National story and the detailed interview that the Spanish Consul gave to Harold Heckle back in 2009.

Anonymous said...

Well we must agree to disagree then. I'm sure you at least understand albeit disagree with my points.
Thank you for putting up my posts to allow your readers to begin to comprehend the complexities of theses issues for themselves and at least appreciate that simplistic generalisations can be far from any truth.


Anonymous said...

Well we must agree to disagree then. I'm sure you at least understand albeit disagree with my points.
Thank you for putting up my posts to allow your readers to begin to comprehend the complexities of theses issues for themselves and at least appreciate that simplistic generalisations can be far from any truth.


Jim Budd said...

Anon. Apologies I thought I had published this several days ago.

' to comprehend the complexities of these issues for themselves'

Indeed I was interested to see that the Dubai site decided to email Decanter in the summer of 2010 when they were worried I was about to write a new story for Decanter on Pancho Campo MW asserting that legal action against me was being considered.

Nick gazzard said...

Zzzzzzzzzzz. It appears you and anon have bored people to death with Pancho Campo. Enough please for all our sakes. Write about wines please.