Warrant Out For Spanish Promoter

A warrant has been posted on the Interpol Web site for the arrest of Spanish concert promoter Francisco “Pancho” Campo, who was convicted of breach of trust in Dubai in 2003 after falling out with his former business partner.

It’s the latest turn in the ongoing legal spat between Campo and Jackie Wartanian, who heads United Arab Emirates-based Center Stage Management (CSM). The arrest warrant was published by Interpol Sept. 8.

In 2003, a Dubai court heard that Campo and Wartanian ran Connection Sports Management (CSM) together but fell out after a dispute over financing. In his absence, Campo was charged with and convicted of breach of trust. He was sentenced to one year in jail followed by deportation.

At the beginning of 2004, less than a year after moving to Spain, Campo threatened legal action because he claimed Wartanian was trying to benefit from his name and reputation.

A Jan. 6 press release that year from CSM’s Marbella office said there was “a company in Dubai that claims to be the owner of CSM” and was also claiming to have promoted concerts with acts including Sting, Enrique Iglesias, Pink Floyd, Tom Jones and Shaggy – events Campo said he organized.

The press release, which CSM public relations director Guillermo Prieto sent to a list of agents, promoters and the media, made no mention of the previous year’s court case.

“We are aware that Ms. Jacqueline Wartanian has registered a company in Dubai under the name of ‘CSM Sports and Artistical Services’ and that she is using the profile of the original CSM to get to agencies,” it said.

The case apparently revolved around a euro 600,000 ($887,622) claim that Wartanian had brought against Campo over fraudulent business dealings. Local news services are quoting Amna Jallaf, Wartanian’s lawyer, saying that a civil case has also been filed against Campo.

“Ms. Wartanian gave him around $1 million (Dh3.67 million) on the understanding he would manage and run the business,” Jallaf said. “He took all the money and disappeared.”

In a telephone interview with Abu Dhabi-based English-language daily The National, Campo’s wife Melissa was quoted saying the couple was unaware of the legal proceedings, which came four months after they left the Emirates.

“We had no idea there was a court case when we left the UAE,” Melissa Butler explained. “We only found out there was an arrest warrant about two months ago. It came as a complete shock.”

She also said the dispute centered on Wartanian’s purchase of shares in CSM in 2000.

The company struggled in the years following the Sept. 11 attacks in New York in 2001 because fewer Westerners wanted to visit the Middle East at that time.

Campo’s wife also claimed Wartanian later wanted to leave the company and asked that Campo buy out her shares in the firm, but he refused.

“When you invest in a company, you take a chance that the company is going to do well,” she explained. “If it doesn’t do well, then you don’t just ask for your money back.

“We definitely don’t owe her any money. We are speaking to lawyers in Washington. They believe the case may contravene international law.”

Although there is no extradition treaty between the UAE and Spain, an agreement has been drafted and is due to be signed by representatives from both countries in the coming months.

However, the lack of a formal treaty would not necessarily prevent Campo from being deported should UAE authorities lodge a formal request.

Campo has remained in Spain and is now director of Wine Future, a popular two-day business conference for wine producers and experts.

It is to be held at the Fair and Exhibition Palace in La Riojar, Spain, in November. Wine critics including Oz Clarke and Steven Spurrier are expected to attend.

In 1997, Campo launched Connections Sports Services in Dubai, which later became Connections Sports and Music in 1999 and then Center Stage Management.

The firm managed sports and rock events under the different names.