Equity release victims in Spain ‘facing financial ruin’

LAST UPDATED: 16 May, 2012 @ 21:17
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Equity release victims in Spain ‘facing financial ruin’

By James Bryce

EXPAT victims of an equity release scheme in Spain are ‘facing financial ruin’ after being ordered to repay thousands of euros within 30 days, according to a campaign group.

Over 400 pensioners could have their homes repossessed after administrators of Landsbanki Luxembourg, which went bust in 2008, classified them as debtors, claim Landsbanki Victims Action Group.

The victims were allegedly mis-sold financial products by the institution, despite it not being registered or licensed in Spain as an investment bank.

Loans worth 25 per cent of the market value of their property were agreed in return for investing the remaining 75 per cent in an investment portfolio managed by the bank.

The loan would then be repaid using the proceeds of the ‘low-risk’ investments, which promised minimum nine per cent annual returns over a five year period.

Administrators are now calling in the debts, telling clients they must repay the loan plus interest within 30 days and settle within 90 days or else have their property taken, according to the group.

A spokesman for Landsbanki Victims Action Group said: “These pensioners’ only assets are the properties they live in and with an average age of 60+ years it is impossible, except in some exceptional cases, for them to raise the money to cover the amounts demanded.”

However, a source close to the case told the Olive Press that Landsbanki have sent letters to a number of their clients stating they were prepared to offer a settlement by giving them back their money, less what they took out, plus interest.

Earlier this year a Malaga court awarded 25,000 euros in compensation to British couple Carolyn and Henry Bowen, in a landmark ruling against the bank.

4 COMMENTS

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  1. Prior media articles indicate many residents were taking these reverse mortgage/equity release scheme in order to avoid Spanish inheritance tax… and dealing with a Bank not licensed in Spain?
    I do feel sorry for them; an uphill fight.

  2. If Roger Wilkinson would like to contact me, then I can provide all of the facts for his colleagues. So many ex-pat residents in Spain are in denial about getting involved in this scam. The usual comment I receive is along the lines of “How could I have been so stupid?” They are not, they have been targeted by some very clever Brit conmen such as Mr A.G.? We have now taken the fight to Luxembourg.

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