The Surrenda Link Mortgage Holding fell for the fake tax mitigation scheme that Charles “Charlie” Walton, based in Estepona, came up with. Just how any bank could have been so stupid to believe it is shocking but more worryingly is the fact that trusting customers, conned in the most despicable manner, have to be chasing this bank to obtain a resolution to their plight.

Below is a letter that was sent to SLMH by lawyers acting for a victim:


Dear Sirs

As you may be aware, the above customers took out a mortgage with your company between the years 2006 and 2007. The purpose of this mortgage was to reduce the taxable value of their property, with a view to pay a lesser IHT, and to create at the same time an income stream that would enable them to improve their lifestyle, given that they are all pensioners.

It is my understanding that Mr. Charles Walton, from the Premier Group, introduced this scheme in Spain some years back and convinced the SLM Group to provide the loans. This seems clear from the information below:

The following also appear to be true:

  1. Both Premier and SLM devised, planned, promoted and sold the product to British pensioners, under the appealing name SITIRS (Spanish Investment Transfer and Income Release Scheme), on the basis of one very clear message: “reduce the value of your property or face paying a very high tax rate”. The fraudulent and misleading advertising for this artifice is undisputed.  
  2. The product was also deceitfully sold as a means to raise cash and provide an income stream, being self-sustainable: pensioners were not required to have an income (SITIRS brochure read “there are no income proof requirements from loan providers”).
  3. SLM was not regulated to provide mortgage loans in Spain, as is required by any entity that wishes to professionally provide such service in Spain. The footer warning note amply inserted in promotional literature is no mitigating factor to the lack of compliance with this non-waiverable requirement. If at all, it shows that in spite of knowing the existence of certain regulatory obligations, SLMH chose to infringe them deliberately.  
  4. SLM instructed unregulated IFA to capture clients in Spain, against mandatory regulatory provisions. Hamiltons Financial Services is one of such agents and was used as a means for SLM and Premier Group to further their business in Spain. We find the allegation that the pseudo- IFA´s were in fact hired by the customer as an excuse that deforms reality and is obviously untrue.  
  5. SLM instructed unregulated property valuers in Spain to capture clients, against mandatory regulatory provisions. Cluttons is one of such examples.

We would like to enter into a constructive dialogue in respect of these products, with a view to terminating the contracts on grounds that they are based on an illicit cause (tax evasion proposition), sold misleadingly as being able to legally reduce IHT taxes (irrespective of whether customers could have had independent advice), sold misleadingly as a means to provide an income for the duration of the term of the loan and utterly inadequate for the customer´s profile.

Should you deem the above proposition acceptable, I am be happy to discuss the procedure to achieve the a settlement on this matter.

Yours faithfully