12 Sep, 2011 @ 09:30
1 min read

Expats in Spain battle the banks

By Wendy Williams

VICTIMS of illegal equity release schemes are forming an association to prevent Scandinavian banks ‘robbing’ expats of their property.

Euan Armstrong, who the Olive Press reported is taking Danske Bank to court after it convinced him to use his two million euro Malaga home as collateral, has now teamed up with fellow expat Ian Sherdley, 69, to form the Equity Release Victims Association.

“We are forming an association to prevent these banks from robbing expats of their property by offering a pile of cash as part of an investment plan,” explained Armstrong, 73, who lives in Marbella.

“Equity release is not safe and a loan against the property with the idea of hiding the money in an offshore account or removing the money from the value of the property is certainly illegal in Spain.”

Sherdley, 69, from Lancashire, who has lost a staggering 2.5 million euros through a similar scheme with Nordea Bank SA, added: “These banks are just trying to fill their coffers. So now we are working on getting a legal voice to pursue them through the criminal courts.”

The pair are being backed in their venture by lawyer Antonio Flores from the Marbella based firm Lawbird.

“The purpose of the association is to support people through their predicament,” Flores explained.

“Equity release is actually killing people, through such degrees of stress. Their livelihoods are being reduced and in some cases their lifespan.

“We have decided to do something.”

Now Armstrong and Sherdley are calling on other victims – believed to run into the hundreds – to stand up and fight these huge financial institutions.

“We ask everybody to join us who has or is suffering a similar rape and pillage from a Scandinavian Bank,” said Armstrong.

“Do not lie down but stand up and fight them.

“These banks are making billions of euros every year and stealing your money.”

When questioned both banks said they were unable to comment on individual cases.

James Bryce

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  1. I am a bit confused by this story as there seems to be a lot missing. Equity release in itself is not illegal, is it? If the people in this story had that amount of money to invest, they surely were the kind of people who would have sought some kind of independent advice. What was that advice? Did they read the small print? And what has happened to the money they have ‘lost’ – where is it? On the face of it, this appears to be about some people who saw an opportunity to make some money, possibly a bit risky or close to the wind, it went wrong and now they are crying foul.

  2. Customer greed is the often heard excuse promoted by financial advisers. These products are so complicated punters can’t understand them. Advisers sell by making them sound straight forward.

  3. spot on Sheilagh….. as you say ” this appears to be about some people who saw an opportunity to make some money, possibly a bit risky or close to the wind, it went wrong and now they are crying foul. “

  4. Banks here could have committed, inter alia, theft by swindle, false advertising, tax fraud and ideological falsity on a public document(mortage loan title deeds, which had no financing purpose but was a device used as a disguise to conceal. Now that is 4 criminal counts, apart from the civil and administratives responsibilities, not small.

    Nobody is certainly forced to buy into this scheme, as no one is forced to have dinner in some dodgy establishment or go for a Saturday night stroll in a back street. If you get food-poisoned or mugged, liability still resides elsewhere…

    Time will tell.

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