21 Aug, 2014 @ 09:30
1 min read

Expat pensioners battle banking giant ‘scam’


DOZENS of elderly expats filled a Marbella courtroom to witness the latest step in the long-running Rothschild saga.

Two expat pensioners, Jean Leftwick and Julia Holley, both of Alhaurin de la Torre, have brought a deception action against banking giant N.M. Rothschild and Sons.

The pair claimed that they were sold an ‘illegal’ equity release product by Rothschild in 2005, that allegedly resulted in them losing their €490,000 Marbella home.

Some 15 British pensioners are currently taking on the bank after allegedly being mis-sold a total of €4 million worth of fraudulent equity releases, in a case led by Marbella firm Lawbird.

Remarkably, the case was a matter of Parliamentary discussion in England between an MP and Conservative Treasury Minister, Sajid Javid.

However, Rothschild director David Shannon and former director Steven Dewsnip denied any responsibility in the court for actively encouraging dozens of expat pensioners to take part in the hazardous scheme.

The verdict is expected in October.

Imogen Calderwood

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  1. Thanks to Antonio Flores of Lawbird we have formed EQUITY RELEASE VICTIMS ASSOCIATION (www.erva.es) which has raised actions in Court in Fuengirola against two executives of DANSKE BANK who finally appeared before the judge. These two men were unable to answer the charges put in front of them of misleading pensioners on Inheritance Tax Relief (for their heirs after they die). Of misappropriation of their investments to such a level that the properties owned by the pensioners became subject to being repossession by the bank since all the money was gone in commissions and bank pay offs and pensions of the retiring officers. Furthermore these executive directors working in Luxembourg to avoid tax denied any knowledge of suggesting that KPMG was recommending their plans when the said tax advising company did not sponsor or suggest the use of such illegal investments. So the pensioners have lost their money and their houses which were free of encumbrances at the time of being sold the investment by DANSKE BANK. We now await the Court to summons the CEO of DANSKE BANK, LUXEMBOURG to appear and answer the charges put before him by the judge in Fuengirola. We will make sure the Press is there with cameras and television and as many of the aggrieved pensioners (who are still alive) at the Court that day and we will enjoy watching him squirm.

  2. In the interests of correctness our case was not led by Antonio Flores of Lawbird but by Salvador Martinez Eschevarria of Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo Marbella “secretariamarbella@cremadescalvosotelo.com”
    With thanks to him.

  3. Dear Captain Euan.

    With respect to all concerned, and whilst it’s all to the good that there are other groups taking actions against these banking frauds, this article has nothing to do with the ERVA, – it is entirely the result of the Costa del Sol Action Group’s long and tireless efforts, along with their brilliant lawyer.

  4. Sonmaties,

    Whilst the article refers to the Court case led by Salvador Martinez, you are wrong in indicating that “the article has nothing to do with the ERVA”.

    It was this association’s efforts that made it possible that this scam was debated at Westminster Parliament.

  5. It would be interesting to know the name of the lawyer who had this particular case in court . So far we appear to have three options , surely the clients who claim to be defrauded should at least be aware who is representing them ?..

  6. Antonio.

    This news story title, along with the details of the event refer to the Costa del Sol Action Group’s lawyer’s case.

    The 4 lines beginning “Some 15….”, and “Remarkably,…”, bloat the article, and refer both to another group, and to an older and previously reported event. It was my intention to clarify this to the reader.

    The Costa del Sol Action Group lawyer was misnamed in the article, probably as a result of confusion caused by the interjection.

    (Should’ve gone to Specsavers Lou Lou)

  7. The Olive Press has not reported this matter correctly and I have asked them to publish a prominent correction next week.
    It was one single case brought by myself Jean Leftwick and Julia Holley that was heard in the Marbella court 29th July 2014. The lawyer representing us was, as stated in my original comment on this page, Salvador Martinez Eschevarria whom I understand also represents CDSAG members.
    Whilst it was ERVA whose efforts made it possible for the case to be debated in the UK parliament this played no part in our case and did not feature in it. Captain Euan has not had the grace to acknowledge our case was the first to be heard against Rothschild and his plug for his ERVA organisation is simply that. The fact is no victims want this to be a competition between organisations and lawyers. We just want justice and asap.Lets wait and see what the verdict is. Whilst I am at it, I would like to point out that I personally have worked tirelessly for many years getting this case together and owe a great debt of gratitude to my Spanish friend Pepi who painstakeingly went through the drivel of Rothschilds defence, which came in Spanish, with me and showed me what they were really up to in order that I could reply and defend ourselves. I could not make it up I can assure you. Salvador was meticulous.

  8. There is an awful lot of misinformation flying about here.

    When Antonio says it was ERVA’s efforts that got the scam debated in Westminster that is totally untrue. The debate came about because my wife and I wrote to all the victims we had contact details for asking them to write to their MPs, if they still had sufficient UK connections,complaining about the lack of action by the FSA/FCA/FOS.

    Many people did write to little avail unfortunately, but one couple did have some success with their MP in Wales – Huw Irranca-Davies, who showed considerable interest and eventually managed to arrange the debate in Westminster Hall. The account of the debate can be found on the “They work for you” website and if you then search for ·”Rothschild Equity release scheme” and then click on the Rothschild equity release debate title it will take you to the verbatin report which includes my annotations and comments on the proceedings.

    Sorry Antonio – it was nothing whatsoever to do with ERVA.

  9. Michael,

    We certainly don’t have access to MPs and thus, we played no part in contacting the specific MP (Huw Irranca-Davis among others).

    However, as you are mentioning “they work for you” website, I am obligated to correct you: in the comments of Huw Irranca-Davis, you will find remarkable coincidences between the information therein posted and the postings on ERVA, which are public.

    Those “coincidences” are none other the result of extensive correspondence between ERVA with Huw Irranca Davis’ office, pointing to official sources of information, brochures and other literature, letters, excerpts from Court cases that we are now party to, figures, numbers etc.

    A year ago, people still believed that the Equity Release was legal, from a tax point of view. ERVA proved this was a scam, and this “note” is the very reason for that specific Parliamentary debate.

    Just so that you know.

  10. I think Antonios articel in Olive Press Spanish Public Notary Wins Bank mis-selling Case is most interesting. Surely if he can win on the basis he assumed he could trust the bank, we should be afforded the same judgement. Sauce for the goose etc? If Notaries are there because in the past the population was largely illiterate and happily is no longer, the role of the Notary should therefore expand to take into account the illiteracy of foreigners of all countries who bring their money here to make a life and find the complicated and often dishonest behaviour of all concerned difficult to comprehend.
    When we signed for the NMR Equity Release plan there was no translator, the Notary spoke no English and YES WE SHOULD NOT HAVE SIGNED ANYTHING BUT WALKED OUT OF THAT OFFICE LEAVING THE SWEATY COUTANCHE AND CHUM BEHIND. But it was the Rothschild family who will not tolerate dodgy deals according to Dewsnip.Time for Notaries to stop coining the c ash and step up to doing a proper job for everyone not just them selves and their chums

  11. I have been saying this for 8 long years now. The Notary is supposed to be responsible law-abiding and knowlegable. Yet many of them signed “Doy Fe”, to a document in their own language, that infringed basic tax evasion laws. Without their co-operation none of this could have taken place. A communication from the CNMV informing the Notaries of this illegality should have resulted in all of the contracts being nullified all those years ago.

  12. Thank you Antonio, but I was not suggesting that ERVA did not provide a lot of information to Huw Irranca-Davies, along with many others, my wife and I included, who provided masses of information to help Huw put together the case for the debate. To suggest, however, that it was ERVA proving that the scheme was illegal in Spain that made it possible for the debate to be held at all is simply not true. The reason Huw was able to get the matter debated was because two of his constituents were direct victims and that is why he was able to secure the debate. In preparing for the debate he was naturally anxious to obtain as much relevant information as possible and we, along with many others, including ERVA obviously, were happy to provide as much information as we were able, but the fact that the scheme was declared illegal in Spain is only marginally relevant and was certainly not the reason Huw was able to secure the debate.

    Be that as it may, I believe we are very much on the same side and trying to secure the same results and we certainly wish you every success with the cases you are pursuing.

  13. The reactions to this article are completely understandable and justifiable. It unquestionably misleads the reader.

    It reads as though Lawbird and ERVA had something to do with the court case story being reported, – which is entirely false.

    Given the input that Lawbird obviously had with the composition of the article, they would do well to ensure that the appropriate corrections be published in a prominent place, and as soon as possible.

  14. Jean. I meant that it should have been resolved a long time ago if that had been achieved. Meaning no need for court cases taking years, and the untold stress still being suffered by the victims.

  15. Further to the above, surely the Notaries and the Spanish Lawyers participated in the act of tax evasion and/or money laundering, even if the elderly and trusting victims had faith in these professionals. Don’t their very signatures on the documents show that ?

  16. Antonio
    Whats your view of the Notary issue being discussed on this page please. Would a communication from the CNMV informing the Notaries of the illegality be of use to us all if there was such a thing?

  17. Sonmaties well yes they did, for sure they got well paid for it by NMR which is part of the problem. That a recognised firm of Spanish lawyers would be a fundamental part of a scam by NMR, would lack the integrity to step back is scary but so what? Who is gong to do anything about that?
    All the professionals or so called professionals involved with NMR and the Plan participated together in this deception.
    What makes me sick is that we the pensioners are supposed to know about all this and seem to be expected to understand what is going on. NMR suggest we knew it was a money making scheme for NMR,not for our benefit. We knew all about the mortgage and that it would cost us our homes even though the professionals guaranteed everything. That is what we all wanted, to give our homes to NMR, that is why we did it. Perlease give me a break,the suggestion is so stupid I cannot believe it. The corrupt behaviour of banks, lawyers and notaries conspiring to steal the property of ordinary pensioners, as is the case with NMR, whilst not uncommon these days, is never the less sinister and outrageous. I for one am praying the judge will do the right thing in our case.

  18. Antonio, I hope you will ensure the Olive Press make the necessary correction to the very misleading article about our trial on the 29th July Please. thankyou

  19. I would like it to be known that after contacting The Olive Press regarding the inaccuracies in this article, I am still awaiting apologies and correction in the subsequent edition. I am not surprised but I am concerned that supposedly responsible journalists act in this way.
    Just for the record, Jean Leftwick being a member of the Costa del Sol Action Group, was represented in her court case by the groups lawyer Salvador Martinez Echevarria. They also have many other court cases pending with Rothschild and many other financial companies. I do hope that the reporting of these cases will be reported more accurately.

  20. A double glazing sales tactic. Keep hammering the unsuspecting pensioners. Blind them with tables and figures. Promise an extra income over and above pension. Mention repeatedly “Rothschild” not just a bank to rely on but a global financial institution whose success over the years guarantees this plan will be well monitored by the managers. Well my goodness, I think we were all well and truly conned. Bolt the door after the horse has gone, our lawyer advised against this scheme but the rep from Hamiltons was like a terrier, just would not ket go if the juicy bone. A big thank you to all of the folks, who like us, have lost or could lose their homes, for pushing on with the action. Maybe 2015 will be our freedom year.

  21. We are all believing in fairy tales.
    Does anyone really think that governments, courts, or judges have to guts to attack the banks???
    On whistleblower.org you can read about all the scams all the banks are and have been involved in, and has anything been written about that in the papers???
    The banks are almighty and don’t give a damn about bad publicity,

  22. What a misery you are whisleblower, we might as well all drop our cases against the various banks and put our heads in the gas oven.
    Whistleblower.com seems to relate to the UK and the USA?
    Here in Spain there are lawyers who have the guts to attack the banks with some good results.
    It does not matter what is written in the newspapers, half of it is wrong anyway. It is only in court justice can be given, whilst there are lawyers with guts here prepared to take on the job then more power to them. Banks dont care about bad publicity you are right, thats why newspaper or internet condemnations have little value. I dont know what the answer is, banks rob with malice of forethought and plan meticulously to rob individuals. Only by fighting them in the courts do we stand a chance. Trial by newspapers wont get anyone justice which is what its all about, not flogging newspapers.

  23. Sorry Jean but don’t take out your undeniable anger on whistleblower for speaking the truth.

    Perhaps now people will make the effort to research and invest for themselves instead of relying on smartly dressed conmen (and women) working in the very lucrative financial services industry.

    I warned a German friend, a doctor not to trust anyone working in finance. She was conned by a woman, thinking that one woman would’nt con another woman. She was able to get her money back and will never trust anyone again with her money except herself – lesson learned.

  24. I am not taking anything out on whistleblower, you could be right. Its regrettable we are not all as clever as you. We all made a grave error in taking the word of an employee of Rothschilds bank as truth. We are certainly paying for our stupidity and there is little point in rubbing it in.
    We know we were conned, we know we should not have trusted Rothschild, we hope to get justice. Keeping positive is about all we can do. What they did was illegal after all.

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