Edgar Aldaz was arrested on Wednesday morning at his home, among the private bungalow complexes of the privileged, leafy avenues of Campo de Internacional, in sunny Maspalomas on the touristed south of Gran Canaria.  After spending a night in the cells, he gave evidence on Thursday morning and was released on charges of suspected drugs smuggling, distribution and money laundering.

 


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By all accounts a fun guy, he is polite, driven and articulate. Having emerged at the end of the naughties, as a nightclub entrepreneur, projecting a playboy lifestyle, filled with pretty girls, glamorous parties, speedboats and yacht clubs; Aldaz started out in the bustling and lucrative property business of Playa del Inglés and Maspalomas before taking on New Heaven Gay Disco Club SL. with connections to at least one shady after hours bar in the basements of San Agustín shopping centre, as well as hosting various dance music events, Aldaz and his business partners are also known to have repeatedly rented and organised large numbers of kiosks during Maspalomas Carnival events, and dance music floats during Maspalomas PRIDE Gran Canaria.

The Yumbo nightclub, Heaven, has been quite well known for its “afterparty” crowd, particularly used as a venue during the annual PRIDE and Carnival events, though questions have been raised, over the last 15 years, as to who was really behind the company and how this business could actually afford to stay open as, unusually for the Yumbo, the venue seems to be focused mostly towards Canarian youth, native DJs and music styles like Reggeton, which generally do not attract much of a crowd in the famous commercial leisure centre, known internationally as a late night entertainments space catering to primarily LGBTQIA+ foreign visitors.

As well as running with a notoriously glamorous, footloose and fancy free crowd, between the nightlife of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Playa del Inglés and Maspalomas, Aldaz seems to have made a name for himself over recent years following a series of apparently canny investments, having raised San Agustin-based New Heaven Gay Disco Club SL’s share capital in 2011 by nearly 2000%, with an injection of €60,000, the company produced turnover estimated to be more than €2.5m, according to company data.

Then followed a run of appointments to a string of companies dealing with everything from online marketing, to e-commerce and platform management of various technologies, gaining press attention in the last couple of years for a service known as Canarias Prime, dedicated to the transport of online purchases to The Canary Islands via its logistics bases in mainland Spain.

Some of his companies received government grants for training and overseas investment, leading Aldaz to become known as a preferred online commerce expert.  The Canarias Prime service, in particular, gained much attention for having seemingly overcome the reluctance of major global brands like Amazon to ship goods to the islands.  Even the name echos the well known Amazon streaming service, PRIME, while making use of a Canarian Banana for the logo, looking rather similar to the Amazon smiley arrow trademark they use for their branding.

Following his arrest on charges of alleged drug trafficking and money laundering, Aldaz was immediately removed as CEO of Canarias PRIME, according to a statement from the company, though currently he remains active in at least eight different businesses, all interconnected in a seemingly complex web of corporate structures.

The main UDYCO Drugs & Organised Crime Unit (Unidad de Drogas y Crimen Organizado) has been investigating Aldaz for several months on suspicion of being involved in a criminal organisation.

Canarias Prime’s main function was to manage the delivery to the Canary Islands of online purchases made in any EU store, taking care of the charges and procedures that had often acted as an obstacle to customers resident in the archipelago. Aldaz’s innovative business model gained some real recognition among Canarian companies, with an estimated 200,000 registered users on his platform in its first year or so.

By Wednesday 26 April, the company announced that they were dismissing him as a director of Canarias Prime having been arrested for suspected drug trafficking, money laundering and involvement in a criminal organisation. He was released on bail this Thursday, with no other individuals currently named as being under investigation in his case.

Aldaz has achieved significant revenues with the at least eight projects he is known to have directed. He has participated in numerous conferences and taught courses on ecommerce, as well as on the fiscal and logistical costs of doing business in the Canary Islands. He has even taught Digital Transformation Programs for Commerce at the University Foundation of Las Palmas.

Though it is not currently clear how far this investigation will go, nor how much evidence has been collected against him, there are many questions to be asked as to how a failing nightclub venue, and events at the famous Yumbo centre, could have generated so much revenue as to have launched a multimillion euro collection of businesses spanning shipping, logistics, telematics, e-commerce, training and investment strategies across several territories.

PRIDE’s One Night In Heaven

As for Heaven, the Yumbo unit is owned by a well known local family, successful in property investment and tourism facilities management, though they appear to have nothing to do with the actual nightclub business itself, acting only as landlords.  The nightclub business, with connections to a locally known British bar and club organiser who’d allegedly earned a windfall through past involvement with annual PRIDE event organisers, was taken over by four new Canarian business partners in 2017, and renamed as Heaven Scala, though it appears to have struggled, as ever, to make any money, despite partnering on recent events with the commercial dance party organisers, who call themselves “Freedom”.

“Freedom” are currently rumoured to be performing their torch song, out of favour and without any support from the Yumbo community of businesses from which the event originated, they are trying now to sell tickets to events well away from the Yumbo, in an effort to muster some residual businesses for themselves, once they are removed as the failing organisers of Maspalomas Pride, in direct competition with, and to the detriment of the Yumbo itself.  One such event scheduled for this year’s PRIDE is being advertised at a decommissioned water park attraction, that had its licences revoked and removed before even being allowed to open last year.  This publication has seen no evidence of any new licences having been issued, yet still tickets are on sale.

Attendance numbers have steadily declined at the Yumbo’s annual PRIDE events, even despite the inflated claims of the current organisers, and it will take more than “One Night in Heaven” to renew the fortunes of the Yumbo PRIDE celebrations which seem to have lost their way over recent years, catering only to drug fuelled dance party crowds, without any of the original spirit that created the event in the first place.  Only the combined efforts of the entire Yumbo community, working together as once they did, will manage to reinvigorate this reference event, founded in Maspalomas by the LGBTQIA+ community.  Heaven can wait.

As for Mister Aldaz, the evidence against him appears compelling and will be reviewed by the investigating judge, where upon he will be asked to explain and defend himself, before a verdict is reached as to whether any crime has been committed.  Before then, he is innocent until proven otherwise.  Nonetheless most of the regional press and some national press too have all picked up on the story of a man who appears to have gained notoriety for some uncannily good investments, with seemingly little prior track record, and what appear to have been unusually large profits.

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