On Thursday 14th July, Bilbao Courts heard the case of a number of the SITIRS (Spanish Inheritance Tax and Income Release Scheme) product against Surrenda Link and Premier Isle of Man companies.
From the victims’ part, lawyersÂ insisted â€“and proved beyond doubt- on the crucial lack of regulatory clearance on not only the product, but the financial entities and the IFAs. LawyersÂ also proved that the inheritance tax reduction proposition was fraudulent. Our lawyers alleged that the product, called SITIRS (Spanish Inheritance Tax and Income Scheme), was a sham in every aspect. TheyÂ also evidenced that lawyers appointed to act for victims were for the most part on the list of SLM appointed lawyers.
A witness who had worked for Hamiltonâ€™s attended as the hearingÂ and confirmed that clients were approached by telephone cold-calling. The witnessÂ also advised that IHT was the main reason why this product ever existed, in the first place. When asked by the Judge if her company was registered, the witness statedÂ that it had applied for a license but never received a reply from the CNMV.
For the part of SLM and Premier, the former argued that all risks were properly presented to the customer by signing the relevant forms. Insofar as Premier is concerned, their main allegation was that they were a different company from the one that sold the product during the 2005-2007 period.
The presiding Judge took an interest in the case beyond what is normal and tried, whether successfully or not, to understand the mechanics of this product. At one point, she argued that if this whole financial proposition was so difficult for legal people to understand, what chances did pensioners have (?).
The trial took six hours and the parties presented their oral conclusions.
The ruling will be issued any time now although, as August is a Court holiday month, it may be that we do not hear any more until September.