A EUROPEAN court has made a historic ruling in support of an expat group of banking victims.
Luxembourg’s Court of Appeal is going to proceed with a full investigation into claims of money laundering and fraud against the bank Landsbanki – which went bust in 2008.
“This is a significant step forward in our fight for justice and the right to get our properties and lives back again,” said Michael McInnes of the Landsbanki Victims Action Group.
A total of 180 British, German and Dutch expats formed the victims group in 2009, after becoming falling foul of the bank’s ‘equity release’ scheme.
Victims were allegedly missold financial products by the institution, despite it not being registered or licensed in Spain as an investment bank.
Loans worth 25% of the market value of their property were agreed in return for investing the remaining 75% in an investment portfolio managed by the bank.
When the bank went bust in 2008, however, the investors were told they were in the bank’s debt.
The group was told the bank held a mortgage on their properties, and that if they did not settle all debts the bank would seize their homes.
But after joining forces with a group of French victims, the group filed a criminal case against the bank, for fraud and money laundering.
The court’s historic ruling is not the end of the fight, but victims are now meeting with their lawyers to discuss the next steps.
McInnes added: “Although a long way from winning the war, we are winning more and more battles in our quest for justice.”