EXCLUSIVE: British couple lose ‘dream’ Spanish home after Natwest suspects them of money laundering

Dream Costa del Sol villa sale falls through after Natwest suspects British couple of money-laundering

LAST UPDATED: 2 Sep, 2015 @ 18:46
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FROZEN OUT: Sale lost for Yvonne and Jules Minto

A BRITISH couple have launched legal action after their dream move to Spain was left in tatters when Natwest bank froze their account over suspicions of money-laundering.

Yvonne and Jules Minto found themselves in a ‘living hell’ when they discovered their planned villa purchase could not go through just days before signing.

Despite countless appeals to the bank, the purchase of the three-bedroom home, in Torremolinos, had to be scrapped at the last minute.

Unable to access their funds for two weeks, they were forced to live on their credit cards and even borrowed money from a local estate agent to survive.

“I couldn’t believe it when Natwest said we were suspected of money-laundering and had to prove the money was from the sale,” said Yvonne, 48, from Hertfordshire.

The security manager, originally from Glasgow, added: “There is absolutely no evidence of any fraud and myself and my wife are absolutely devastated.”

She added: “All we did was sell our house. I wouldn’t even know how to money-launder if I wanted to.”

Their nightmare began after they sold their home in Hertfordshire for €270,000 (£200,000) last month, with a long-term plan to move to Spain.

But while the money initially appeared in their UK account, it suddenly disappeared while they were travelling to Spain, via France.

“We only found out when we came to pay for a hotel bill,” explained Yvonne.

“It was horrifying and we had to spend the next few days on the phone to the UK trying to sort it out, incurring hundreds in phone bills.”

While Natwest has now finally reinstated the money it is too late for their property purchase, with the home now sold to another buyer.

Although they have found a new property to buy in Benalmadena they have called in lawyers to help them get compensation for the thousands they have lost due to extra hotel costs and other incidentals.

The couple have moved to Spain with their dogs and are planning to open a beach bar and lead a ‘healthier, less stressful life’.

“However this is hardly the dream start. We have suffered more stress than ever before in our lives,” said Yvonne.

Natwest declined to comment due to ‘client confidentiality’.



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13 COMMENTS

  1. “planning to open a beach bar and lead a ‘healthier, less stressful life’.”

    Not that old chestnut again. Expat bar owners are amongst the most stressed out people in Spain. Good luck to them, but reality will kick in soon, alas.

    • Fred/Jacko
      I guess it all depends on the people running the bar and their reason behind doing so (we are not looking to make our fortune, its more of a distraction/hobby)….but thanks for the “positive” feedback :)

      • Yvonne, the people running the bar is really quite irrelevant. I have met all sorts of people who have run bars in Spain, young and old, qualified and over-qualified, ex-teachers, ex-police, ex-army. It matters not. Fact is, the first thing that comes into most British expats’ minds as a business venture in Spain is “open a bar”. Running a bar is not a hobby, it is a business, and it’s very hard work. I’m not sure if Mark is still around on this blog, but he is an experienced bar owner and he can give you some very valuable insights into this area, or you can search for his posts on this blog to see what you will experience in that business sector. I can tell you one thing, and that is that Spain has enough bars!

  2. Sorry to hear about the stupid bank mistake do hope that you get a very good compensation from them.
    Hertfordshire is a beautiful county,I hope you don’t, but I fear that soon you will both wish you had not sold your house there and moved to sunny Spain!!
    However the very best of luck.
    Don.

  3. Sorry to go off topic here but not sure where to post this.

    Has anyone experienced problems accessing this website’s topics using Apple products and their Safari browser? Have found grey images on topics with the word Sekindo also in grey across pages which restrict postings. Also on Safari the Spinning Beach Ball of Death Cursor shows and slows everything down. This never previously happened with Macbook for me, however Google Chrome works fine so now I use 2 browsers. Apple think it’s my ISP, but my ISP think it’s either a Safari problem or a website problem but I previously contacted the OP to see if they were aware of this which they weren’t.

    Apple have erased and re-installed my Macbook which is like new now, but Safari still shows this problem.

    Only asking to see if this is general problem.

  4. Hi Mike – the grey box that you refer to is a video ad player that requires the Adobe Flash plugin to be installed on your computer. The ad is delivered by a third party company and we have had no reports of issues with it to date.

  5. I have the same on my Apple iPad. Have googled Sekindo and it seems to be a bit of a nuisance programme. Doesn’t appear on my laptop. It is blocking out some of the text and doesn’t happen on any other site.

  6. Thanks for your comments and confirmation that this is a general problem, this happened on both my Macbook and ipad. The spinning beach ball of death cursor on O.P. only, started a few weeks ago, the grey images and word Sekindo when I 1st clicked on the Putin story so I thought it was some Russian block. When researching and as Bryan says this it does seems Sekindo is a nuisance programme or mimicked.

    Karl as for Adobe Flash, I’m not keen on that as Google search reveals ‘Malicious payload disguised as a Flash Update’.

    Even though I’ve erased and re-installed my Macbook, the Spinning Beach Ball Cursor and grey images/Sekindo are still there but only on The Olive Press website. I now have to use Chrome to read and post topics here!

  7. I hope it works well for you both but over the many years living here we have seen many English run bars closing. It’s unfortunate really due to the hard work, time, and money invested, but hey! one can only try. Once again, the very best of luck and health.

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