A BRITISH expat faces losing her dream Costa del Sol home after getting caught up in an equity release scam.
Pensioner Wendy Peeling has been ordered to pay €322,000 owed on the scheme or face eviction from her four-bed Calahonda property.
This is despite an ongoing court case in France investigating Icelandic bank Landsbanki for fraud.
Sold to her by unscrupulous financial advisers in 2005, this type of scheme – which allowed pensioners to borrow 100% of the value of their homes – has been banned in the UK since 1990 but was sold to Britons abroad in the early 2000s.
Peeling has now brought in lawyers Martinez-Echevarria, in Marbella, to fight her case.
“I cannot believe this is happening to me,” Peeling told the Olive Press. “I am elderly and have no means of income.
“The house is only worth €300,000 so I have no way of paying it off.”
She added: “My lawyers will be fighting this on the grounds that it was a scam from day one.”
Landsbanki lawyers are facing a string of charges including tax evasion and money laundering, while the bank itself faces fraud charges.
In fact, French criminal courts have formally ordered that the Landsbanki case goes to trial over the selling of equity release schemes in Spain and France.
Like hundreds of other expats, Peeling was left owing thousands of euros when the Icelandic bank collapsed in 2008.
They were told the return on the investment would pay off the interest on the borrowing and provide an income for life.
However, when Landsbanki collapsed at the start of the crisis, the investment return plummeted, leaving expats with huge interest bills.
She is now awaiting a court date which is expected to be set in October.