A PENSIONER is taking legal advice after being fined for using a ‘bogus’ international driving licence bought from a well-known expat businessman.
American Andrea Barnett, 60, is demanding a refund from David ‘the Dogman’ Klein, after he sold her the ‘suspicious-looking’ document for €300.
The Marbella-based mother-of-two, from Illinois, is furious after police told her the licence wasn’t legal, and fined her €500.
“They were completely certain that it was not real,” she told the Olive Press. “They told me it was dodgy, fake and I needed to pay the fine or I would go to jail.
“They weren’t interested who had sold it to me. They just wanted my money.”
But expat Barnett, who by her own admittance was a little naive, has decided that enough is enough and has now called in two lawyers to investigate the case.
“I want the police to change their attitude and to investigate those that sell these licences. I don’t want it to happen to anyone else,” she said.
“If I had been told clearly that I could not just use this licence on its own I would never have paid so much.”
As well as probe the legality of the licences, she hopes to get a full refund from Klein, who writes a pet advice column in a local newspaper and has a radio show.
“It never occurred to me that anyone here would sell me a fake driving licence,” she said.
“I contacted Klein after seeing an advert in a local paper and met him at a petrol station, near Benahavis and handed over €300 in cash after showing him my American passport and licence.
“He looked successful and wealthy. You tend to trust people like that.”
Two weeks later Barnett, who has two daughters, received the licence (right), which looks unprofessional and badly printed.
It has validated by the ‘O&E Auto Club Association’, an organisation that apparently does NOT exist.
The language is strange and at the bottom it states: “We are a private organization not affiliated with the United Nations or any other quasi government organization.”
The licence is fake, as police in Alicante confirmed after convicting a driver with a licence from the SAME organisation in 2013.
The vast majority of these licences are made in Taiwan, the Olive Press has discovered.
“It is a fantasy document,” stated a police spokesman, adding the man had bought it off the internet for just €100.
The Olive Press investigated the same issue three years ago after Spanish motoring writer Brian Deller had his website mysteriously hacked.
The site, www.spainvia.com – which warned of the dangers of fake licences – was remarkably redirected to Klein’s then website for the Costa del Sol Action Group.
Conveniently, all mentions of the licence issue were erased from the website.
We reported that Klein had sold numerous permits – via classified adverts with his mobile phone number – for many years.
When contacted by a prospective client as part of the investigation, Klein did indeed offer a ‘10-year licence’ for €300, but admitted it was ‘risky’.
“I can get you an international licence that will last for 10 years, but it is a risk (to use it in Spain),” he told our journalist.
Deller confirmed that real international driving licences are valid for only a year and the document is illegal to use as your sole driving licence in Spain.
He explained that they are actually ‘useless’ for expats here.
He added that if you have lived here as a tax resident for more than two years without obtaining a Spanish Permiso de Conducir you are breaking Spanish laws.
Meanwhile, Antonio Flores at Lawbird, who has spoken to Barnett, said: “No one can sell an international driving licence. At most, you can advise someone on how to go about applying for one.
“They are largely illegal to sell or use and I have an Iranian client who is facing up to two years in jail for using one.”
When we spoke to Klein he insisted he was innocent and reiterated that he had already been taken to court over the business in 2014 and was ‘found not guilty’.
He said: “When you have an international driving licence, as she knows and everybody knows, it must be accompanied by a current driving license.
“I have a document from the High Court that says what I was selling was not illegal. wThey were all sold in good faith and they are all registered.”
He declined to send the Olive Press a copy of the court judgement, nor would he answer other questions.