BRITISH expats whose dreams were shattered when a Spanish property developer collapsed are in line for huge payouts after a landmark court ruling.
Jerez law firm Abolex Abogados, led by Martin de la Herran, took on the cases of some 40 British families, many of them pensioners, who lost deposits of up to €100,000 when Herrada del Tollo folded in 2008, leaving their homes unbuilt.
Scottish retiree Joan MacLachlan stood in court twice as she battled to reclaim the €38,000 deposit she put down in March 2006 for one of the 1,500 properties in Jumilla, Murcia.
“There were so many lies I just did not know what to believe. We were told we would be compensated, but it was all a smokescreen,” MacLachlan told the Olive Press.
“I know of people who died trying to get their money back.
“We were made to feel like criminals in court. It was devastating and it felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. But I was determined they were not going to spoil my dream.”
Buyers placed deposits with Herrada del Tollo, which were then paid to banks BBVA, CAM or Banco Popular.
The banks and insurance company SGR had general insurance policies with Herrada del Tollo, but British buyers were told they had lost everything when the developer went bust.
A Supreme Court ruling last September stated banks were liable even if these general guarantees had not existed, allowing clients to recover their money from either the banks or the insurers.
Abolex has fought in the First Instance, Supreme and Appeal Courts to win back clients’ deposits, with some of their clients’ cases still going through the courts
”I can’t praise Martin enough,” said MacLachlan. “He is worth his weight in gold.”