Archives for April, 2012

Gathering in Malaga an Absolute Success

We can confirm that Monday’s gathering was an absolute success, from a media point of view. Not only has the local press covered it extensively, but also all the large radio stations (Canal Sur, Onda Cero, Cope and Ser) and Canal Sur TV (you may click on the most relevant links below).

With regards to specific purpose of the gathering we must thank the Hacienda staff for facilitating the process of filing the “denuncias”, which was done smoothly and without major problems, providing promptly an electronic sticker receipt. These denuncias will now be processed and grouped presumably under one single case, together with the more comprehensive one filed by Lawbird at the beginning of the event that included extensive tax-defrauding promotional literature (Nordea), website snapshots (now erased from them- Nykredit), instruction manuals (Rothschild), details of unregulated IFAs etc.

We now expect the Tax Office to initiate a full investigation into what is an illicit banking product that promised tax-avoidance and a regular income, but delivered tax-evasion and irreparable financial (and emotional) damage. In particular, the Tax Office would be focusing on the number of contracts signed and whether inheritors of subscribers of these products who have already passed away, would have invoked the mortgage loan charge to reduce the impact of inheritance taxes. We will be in regular touch with Tax Office to provide them any information they may require as and when the investigation is carried forward.

The next stage will now be a denuncia with Bank of Spain, also in their Malaga office. This is also a formal complaint lodge to obtain a ruling condemning these banks for not only inappropriately selling products without any consideration to the individual needs of the customers, but also for deliberately providing false tax information with a view to persuade customers to sign up the products, through scaremongering. We expect the Bank of Spain to act in accordance to EU regulations on the matter as it is this type of behaviour that undermines confidence in the financial services sector.

Note that denuncias with the Bank of Spain will also be lodged individually but grouped by banks, and will comprehend the following:

  • Nature, description and purpose of the product, as was sold.
  • Non-existence of regulatory clearance by the Bank of Spain to sell such product, either by the Bank of Spain or the CNMV (Financial Investment regulator).
  • Non-existence of regulatory clearance to operate in Spain at all (Sydbank for example).
  • Relationships established with Costa del Sol unregulated IFAs to sell the products, notwithstanding the statutory prohibition to do so.
  • Deceitful selling material utilized to persuade pensioners to buy the product.

Unlike the HSBC, which was fined in the UK for gross misconduct in the selling of investment products, the focus will not be only on the inadequacy of the product, but also on the deliberate falsity in respect of the tax angle and the promised returns.

Some media appearances:


The ERVA Association

Monday the 9th of April Gathering in Malaga

As many of you already know, the ERVA has organized a gathering at the Malaga Tax Office (Avenida de Andalucía number 2, next to El Corte Inglés), Monday the 9th of April 11.30 a.m. (if wish to arrive earlier we will meet in front of El Corte Inglés at 11 a.m.), with the purpose of submitting a tax “denuncia” against the Equity Release banks.

The main aim of this action is to make the Spanish Tax Authorities aware that their Danish counterpart, the Danish Tax Authority (SKAT), as well as the Danish Ministry of Taxation, have already labeled these schemes as fraudulent and started an investigation.

The form below should ideally be printed and filled out by hand, in block capitals, so that it has a more personal touch than a form that only has an original signature. The denunciations will be grouped and Lawbird will attach relevant contractual and marketing documentation we already have, classified by banks.

If you are not able to print and fill out don’t worry, we will take forms that can be filled out there and then.

We will require from you, if at all possible, a copy of the mortgage loan signed with the denounced bank. Failing this, a copy of a “nota simple” showing the mortgage loan registered against it. If you are not able to obtain this, so long as the property details are recorded on the form, we will proceed with filing, and at a later date we will submit the paperwork that is missing.

Also, please bring your passport and a copy.

We expect the Tax office to start an investigation into the activities of the banks because of the fraudulent nature of the proposal, and the loss of revenue as a result. We must not forget that it is almost certain that the tax evasion element of such products has already materialized in some cases, if we consider that hundreds of owners would have been deceived into signing up these products and a few, sadly, are likely to have passed away, some probably due to the enormous stress caused by the actions of the thieving banks.

Please note that this is an important gathering: from the point of the claimant, it is the start of the civil action against the bank in question since obtaining an opinion from the Tax Office is crucial in destroying the validity of the contracts, and from the point of view of the bank, it is the formal communication to the Tax Office of an ill-conceived scheme devised in conjunction with unethical unregistered IFAs, that openly invited customers to violate fiscal laws in Spain (and elsewhere too).

Should there be any change between now and Monday, we will advise by email and also, by publication on the ERVA forum. Any queries will also be responded by emailing myself (or calling the mobile 656 967672), Euan Armstrong ( or Ian Sherdley (


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