We’ve lost millions, claim investors

LAST UPDATED: 22 Mar, 2012 @ 23:46
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We’ve lost millions, claim investors

EXCLUSIVE By James Bryce

AN Estepona-based financial services company has been accused of ‘ripping off’ expats to the tune of millions.

Dozens insist they have been mis-sold by Offshore Investment Brokers (OIB), which is neither registered with Spanish regulator the CNMV, nor the UK’s FSA.

According to the Costa del Sol Action Group – which has used OIB as an example while it campaigns for tighter regulation in Spain – it has received numerous complaints over the last decade.

One victim, Paul O’Connell, fears he may now lose his home after being advised to take out a 260,000 euro 10-year loan secured against the value of his property.

The 55-year-old, from Mijas, is currently facing a 50 per cent shortfall after being persuaded to put his money into an investment fund.

“I’ve been told that it will improve over the next few years but as it stands I could lose my flat,” he told the Olive Press.

The Estepona-based outfit, headed by ‘financial advisor’ David Driver, is now facing mounting pressure after the EU promised to investigate IFAs based in Spain.

“OIB is typical of what goes on down here,” said David Klein, co-founder of the Costa del Sol Action Group.

“They act as introducers but in reality they are engaging in high-pressure selling of financial products and are benefitting from hidden commissions,” he added.

Another victim, Christen Holboll, has now written to Driver to express his anger at being ‘ripped off’ after approaching him for advice on reducing inheritance tax on his 1.2 million euro home.

In the letter seen by the Olive Press, Hoboll states: “David you are not a financial advisor, you are a financial swindler.”

Ironically, Driver once backed tighter regulation of IFAs in Spain.

Speaking in 2003, he said: “I welcome the ability to be regulated…I think that Europe-wide regulation needs to be in place as there is no appropriate authority to clamp down on mis-selling in Spain.”

The Olive Press was this week unable to get hold of him for comment.

11 COMMENTS

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  1. I read so much of this all over the internet.
    Best to deal with an experienced and certified IFA where possible.

    More often than not, its the ADVISOR at fault and not necessarily the product or solution. I’ve seen it SO many times.

    But, there is always hope and effective rescue strategies.

  2. here we go again …. schemes to reduce inheritance tax are illegal in spain. I dont suppose this guy held a gun to anyones head but there is to much dodgy advice given to people who want to belive they can buck the system so regulation is a good idea if its enforced .

  3. “Realize, IF THEY CONTACT YOU, there must be something that you have, that they want”… quote from my Grandfather who was ALWAYS right. And, “Don’t trust these callers for a moment, nor Politicians”.
    Again, he was always right.

  4. I have heard numerous stories about David Driver and have no reason to doubt them, having been a victim of his nefarious scheming myself. OIB closed in Estepona and reopened in the Gulf where they operated for 10 years prior to moving to the CDS 12 years ago. This unscrupulous individual has been heard touting ‘traded options’ down there for ATSG funds with a “return” of 30%. More unsuspecting brits will be fooled and then he will either retire or move back to the CDS. He truly is “Teflon Man”. However, I have a long memory and firmly do believe in Karma.

  5. Barlow Clowes – just how long ago was that. The best person to look after your assets is you but it does mean that you have to get off your arse mentally and study and study and then some more or you can be lazy – and the rest is an ongoing bonanza for con artists

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