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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