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Step forward for building society merger as terms agreed

If you are reading this article there is a good chance that you are among the 200 odd owners of Spanish property that took out a mortgage with Manchester Building Society, now part of Newscastle Building Society.

For years, Manchester Building Society (“MBS”) offered lifetime mortgage loans to owners of Spanish property. The facility allowed “asset rich, cash poor” property owners unlock their wealth by means of periodical drawdowns that typically, would only be repayable upon death of the borrower, within a maximum period of 12 months from the demise.

Unfortunately, MBS ran out of cash to pay property owners, all agreed instalments were halted due to a prohibition by its regulator, PRA, to grant further loans in Spain and elsewhere and left borrowers “high and dry”, still with a MBS mortgage registered against their property and thus, unable to sell it.

There is however a way out to free your property from this mortgage for good, and that solution is already available through Lawbird Legal Services. Last year, a Velez Malaga Court fully accepted executive proceedings brought by Lawbird Legal Services against MBS, on behalf of a British client, demanding full payment of the agreed loan of 300k Euro (with interest). This is in addition to the over 50 rulings won in many other courts against different equity release providers around Spain.

Now, more claims are being filed through the Courts to terminate the mortgage loans due to contractual default by MBS, on the following grounds:

  1. MBS have stopped making any further agreed payments.
  2. MBS have not given a solution to the property owners.
  3. MBS have not reviewed the existing mortgage loan proposal to adjust it to their inability to continue offering the promised cash.
  4. MBS will not address the current situation of owners that are unable to sell, offer a compromise or terminate the mortgage loan.

If you have a property and you have Manchester Building Society Lifetime Mortgage, you need to act now and take advantage of the existing favourables rulings to achieve the following:

a. Nullify the MBS mortgage loan.

b. Retain the sums received so far as compensation.

c. Remove the charge from the house.

If you are in the above situation and want to know how ERVA and their appointed lawyers can assist, call Anabel on + 34 952 86 18 90 or send her an email ( to schedule a free online or office meeting with the lawyers.

Dont wait any longer, acting now is better than doing it later or not doing it all, it will not cost you anything to know your options and legal rights!

…click here to read more

Pensioner wins Equity Release case against Jyske Bank and SEB LIFE International Assurance Company (previously Irish Life)!

Great news for a British pensioner who has just won his equity release case against Jyske Bank and SEB Life.

In a 20-page ruling, the judge in Court 5 of Fuengirola has determined that the equity release contract entered into by the claimant and the named defendants, through Offshore Money Managers (OMM), has to be rendered null and void due to gross miselling and violation of public policy.

According to the ruling the following happened:

All publicity communicated to the plaintiff by OMM staff revolves around the enormous benefits for a foreign pensioner with a house in Spain and without a prior mortgage, and that JYSKE BANK grants a fresh new mortgage loan and delivers the amount of the same -except for a small amount derived from the pensioner- to an investment fund previously selected by the lender. And correlatively, the disadvantage that means not doing so, given the extremely burdensome progressivity of IHT (Inheritance Tax) concluding that, if nothing is done, they could be end up paying taxes of up to 81.60% of the value of the home, or its tax base.

The judge also determined that the insurance policy did not comply with the minimum standards for it to be classed as real insurance, demanding the following:

…that the insurer assumes a certain risk, that the contract has an actuarial basis and that there is adequacy between the content of the contract and the profile of the policyholder.

The Court has now ordered the land registry to remove the mortgage loan and for SEB Insurance to refund the policy sum.

Lawbird Legal Services have been the lawyers acting for the claimant.

FUENGIROLA COURT DECLARES NYKREDIT’s MORTGAGE NULL AND VOID while CHRISTEL MARK HANSEN, branch manager and witness, gives masterclass in lying under oath.

No hay ninguna descripción de la foto disponible.

Court of First Instance 1 in Fuengirola has declared an Equity Release mortgage loan valued at €1.4 million null and void.

According to the ruling, Nykredit Realkredit A/S (largest lender in Denmark) and Sydbank (Investment bank) teamed up to create the Spanish Equity Release Package (SERP), a complex financial product designed to reduce the value of Spanish properties by registering a mortgage loan against them and intended, based on generous and explicit advertising, to mitigate or reduce Spanish inheritance tax.

Of the Nykredit loan only a small sum was given to the property owner/borrower whereas the rest, the larger part of it, would be invested in a SICAV (translated as Investment Company with Variable Capital) promoted by Sydbank. As we all now know, not only did the investments go terribly wrong but the tax break offered by the mortgage was a not true, i.e., a scam.

Nykredit and Sybank, working closely together as shown on signed mutual agreements, offered around a dozen of such mortgages to Spain-based properties owners.

In spite of the above a cynical and insolent Christel Mark Hansen, working for Nykredit since before her employer peddled these toxic banking products and now branch manager of Nykredit’s Marbella office, shamelessly appeared in Court and after saying she had no interest in the case, proffering an orchestrated litany of lies, half-truths and manipulated statements despite being…under oath.

According to Christel:

  • When asked if Nykredit and Sydbank did work together, she said it was the borrower who put them in touch (despite both being Danish, the former holding a stake in the latter’s shareholding and the various meetings between the managers of both companies and the client).
  • When asked if Sydbank had to give a guarantee to Nykredit for 33% of the loan, she shamelessly answers “YES and NO” (despite it being a contractual obligation of the former to the latter).
  • When asked if Nykredit paid a commission to Sydbank, she dodged the question a very arrogant Danish-bank style (despite it being a contractual obligation of the former to the latter).
  • When asked if she knew if Nykredit’s loan had to go to Sydbank she said that yes, but only because she had seen it in other Court cases, and not because there was an agreement signed by both banks.

Nykredit had already foreclosed on the loan and repossessed the property at the time of the ruling although it is not known if they have sold it on. If they have, the bank will have to pay compensation of €1.7 million to the victims of their fraud.


Euan Armstrong, President and Founder of the Equity Release Victims’ Association, has finally succeeded in having his 2004 mortgage loan rendered illegal by a Spanish Court.

When in 2010 Danske Bank foreclosed on the loan and attempted to rob Euan of his Alhaurin home, he could not imagine what a long road lied ahead; immediately upon being served Court papers, Euan’s lawyers instituted criminal proceedings at the Fuengirola Court denouncing the scam he had been a victim of.

When 5 years later the Courts dismissed all criminal proceedings -as a result of a controversial decision by Spanish judiciary governing bodies to not pursue bank contracts criminally- and Danske Bank attempted to foreclose again, lawyers acting for Euan made an almost unheard -and very risky- legal decision: they filed a criminal case against a judge in Coin for admitting a loan foreclosure claim with blatantly insufficient documents.

The Granada High Court in charge of reviewing the case against the judge dismissed the allegations in 2018 -they were described as merely civil- but not before noting, in a short paragraph, that Euan’s allegation of a flawed civil procedure had merits in it. So whilst no charges were brought against the judge, a new Coin judge dealing with the case -who had replaced the previous one for unknow reasons- dismissed all foreclosure procedures on the basis of a technicality.

In 2019, with the threat of loan foreclosure all but eliminated, lawyers for Euan filed the definitive civil claim against Danske Bank International S.A. and The One Life Company S.A. for devising, promoting and selling a misleading and illegal complex financial product, requesting that both the mortgage loan contract and the insurance policies were ruled null and void by the Courts, which is exactly what the ruling has granted.

Lawbird Legal Services S.L.P. (Antonio Flores in the initial defensive actions and Juan Martinez Soler in the latter -and hopefully definitive- Coin Court of First Instance ruling) have acted for Euan Armstrong.

(to be continued)

BREAKING NEWS: Supreme Court of Spain confirms the illegality of 12 equity release mortgages

Image result for surrenda link mortgages

The Supreme Court of Spain has upheld the illegality of 12 mortgage loans valued at six million euros, granted to British families mostly in Malaga province between 2004 and 2007, and orders land registries to cancel all mortgage records.

The case was dealt originally by a Court of First Instance in Bilbao -and later the Appeal Court in the same city- as all loans were granted at a local notary, and the representatives of the lender, SL Mortgage Funding nº1 Limited (SLMF), were also based in the Basque city, according to Lawbird Legal Services SLP.

These loans were sold to attain a reduction in potential inheritance tax, as mortgages would reduce the taxable value of the property, but also -in some cases- to supplement the modest pensions received by the owners of the properties.

SL Mortgage Funding nº1 Limited (SLMF), based in Chester (UK), had not applied for the necessary regulatory permits to legally raise funds from the public and provide an investment service – activities reserved and regulated by the Bank of Spain and the CNMV (financial regulator).  Despite this, SLMF would lend but at the same time retain most of the proceeds of the loan, which would then be invested in speculative products with The Premiere Group, in the Isle of Man.

According to the lawyer Luis Gonzalez of Lawbird Legal Services SLP, working on behalf of the claimants, the ruling confirms that operating in breach of mandatory banking and financial regulations makes the offender a ‘boiler room’, even if the company was legally operating in its own country. It also allows the victims to “end the nightmare” which has blighted them and their families for the best party of 15 years.

The Supreme Court establishes another important factual point: that SLM was indeed an investment services’ company because “the combination of a loan and its application to an investment fund is a financial instrument of those listed on article 2 of the Stock Exchange Act”, being immaterial if claimants had or not sued related investment companies since who really managed the fund was SLM, and those investment companies were nothing but agents acting for and on behalf of SLM.

Finally, the Supreme Court determines that SLM operated as a Collective Investment Fund since they a) raised funds from the public, b) invested those funds in an investment scheme and c) subjected the distribution of profits to the outcome of the fund.

The sale of this product was conducted via commission-earning financial advisory firms (Hamiltons Financial Services, Henry Woods Investment Management, and others), based in Estepona, Marbella and Fuengirola. SLMF also recommended a network of lawyers which would downplay the extent of the lack of licensing requirements of the bank and the product.

The Spanish Supreme Court has the ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all cases in Spain. This means that the dismissal of the appeal is the end of the process to have the “SITIRS” product reviewed judicially; the only exception to this rule is a very restrictive appeal to the Constitutional Tribunal in the event that the appellant could prove violation of fundamental rights and freedoms, a very unlikely scenario in a case involving a bank.

International Property Finance (Spain) Ltd. loses right to file an answer to a claimant’s civil suit

International Property Finance’s bid to have its response writ accepted by a Fuengirola Court has been rejected for being filed late. “IPFSL”, an Rothschild’s offshoot that operated in Spain without regulatory clearance, failed once again to respond within the time limits of civil litigation procedural law.

Strangely enough, “IPFSL” registered its interest in the equity release case on the 19/11/18 but only submitted its response to the claim writ in February 2020, that is, almost 14 months later.

Lawyers acting for the claimant, Lawbird Legal Services SLP, believe Rothschild bank does not wish to have to defend claims filed against a non-regulated dependent entity -a decision largely based on reputational motives- and yet, are trying to delay the case as much as permissible under existing laws.

Co-defendant Swiss Life Luxembourg S.A., where the proceeds of the mortgage where invested through, is also in default and will not be defended in the up and coming trial, to be held within the year.

Nykredit and Landsbanki rejected again in bid to remove cases from Spanish Courts.

Nykredit Marbella | The Equity Release Victims Association

Nykredit and Landsbanki, desperate to avoid Spanish judges examining their corrupted mortgage loans -sold as benign “equity release” tax-avoiding legal instruments- have seen their motions to relocate the cases to friendly Danish and Luxembourg Courts totally rejected.

Court number 2 in Marbella denied relief to Nykredit Realkredit on the basis that all contractual documents were signed in Marbella, despite the bank resorting to the classic cheat clause confirming key contracts were all fictitiously signed in Denmark (when clients had never been there before). But clumsily too, the bank had inserted a clause in the mortgage contracts signed before a Spanish Notary with an express submission to Spanish Courts.

For its part, Landsbanki classic but doomed strategy of attempting to have notoriously biased Luxembourg judges deal with Equity Release cases was equally ejected, citing a 2014 Malaga Appeal Court ruling that meticulously examines the financial transaction and deems Spanish Courts as the only ones competent to resolve the dispute.

Acting lawyers Juan Martínez Soler from Lawbird Legal Services, acting vs. Landsbanki, and Victor Bazaga Ceballos and Roberto Lopez, from Bazagalegal, acting vs. Nykredit, expressed their satisfaction at the correct and just rulings.


caixa banck productos y servicios colectivo asociacion española pediatria

On September 23rd, the First Instance Courts No 2 in Novelda (Alicante) pronounced a sentence whereby a false equity release scheme, signed up by an octogenarian British couple in 2007,  was rendered void ordering Caixabank to refund the full capital value of the product.

The plaintiffs´ lawyers, Antonio Flores and Juan Martinez Soler, from Lawbird Legal Services, a Marbella based law firm, argued in their claim that the cause of the contract was false, in the sense that product consisted in the provision of a loan to retired expatriates residing in Spain as if it were an indispensable requirement to avoid Spanish inheritance tax.

In addition, the judge considers there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the bank never paid most of the loan capital, but retained it to invest it at the borrower’s risk on complex and highly speculative products, without the latter knowing.

Additionally, the sentence resolves that there is no recorded evidence that the bank truthfully reported the borrowers about the true nature of the product or the compliance of the banking and financial transparency regulations.

On declarations to this paper, Juan Martinez Soler concludes that the pronouncement reveals that “The cause of the product is radically false, as in accordance with the Spanish tax regulations concerning Inheritance Tax, payment cannot be avoided by mortgaging a previously owned property”. For its party, Antonio Flores adds that “the dishonest trick advertised by the bank in this case, becomes void pursuant to the Civil Code, for advertising a financial package leading to a clear fraudulent purpose”.

Court 4 in Fuengirola voids 9 equity release mortgages taken out by British pensioners 

Esperanza Broz Martorell, presiding over Court of First Instance 4 in Fuengirola, has declared that 9 mortgage loans worth close to 4 million Euros taken out by British property owners with Chesire-based lender SLM are totally null and void and makes an order to the land registry for the removal of the lender’s charge. Additionally, the Court makes a specific order preventing SLM from claiming the sums advanced to the borrowers, who will not be therefore forced to return any sums.

At the request of the claimants’ counsel (Lawbird Legal Services S.L.P.), the Court accepted the cross-examination of various witnesses -lawyers who acted for SLM, former Hamilton’s Financial Services’ employees, an ubiquitous Mr. Sam Atkisons, current SLM director- and substantial contractual documentation as well as promotional literature, none of which was contested by SLM.

The Court went to consider that the claimants had taken out -between 2006 and 2007- a single product denominated SITIRS (Spanish Inheritance Tax and Income Release Scheme), of complex financial nature, where the grant of a mortgage-backed loan (given to mostly pensioners of limited income) “was inextricably linked to a predetermined purpose for at least 95% of the loan, it being the purchase of shares in a fund that had been previously designated by SLM”, shares that were also pledged in favour of SLM.

According to the ruling, the following were applicable to this case:

  • SLM sold the product in Spain via agents, financial services companies such as Hamiltons Financial Services who, in this case, operated as a tele-sales company. 
  • SLM paid a one-off commission to the agents and for that very reason, cannot be described as “independent financial advisors”.
  • SLM was unable to prove that the investors understood the risks inherent to the product they were acquiring, nor did they establish -beyond reasonable doubt- any previous financial experience by the claimants.
  • SLM provided generic documentation on risks and did not specify all other potential hazards involving the complex financial contraption.
  • Claimants faced the brunt of the financial risk as SLM had secured its investment via a mortgage loan on the property and a pledge on the shares within the investment.
  • SLM held the shares within the investment, giving rights over those to the individual investors.
  • SLM operated unregulated and outside the legality, depriving customers from the protection offered by specific legislation.

The above circumstances satisfied the Court that these loans were illegal in Spain and therefore, should be set aside and declared void. In addition, the Court accepted that SLM committed civil fraud as they withheld vital information from their customers who, had they’d known the extent of it would have never signed up for the investment-linked mortgage loans. 

The ruling is not firm as SLM has 20 days to appeal to the Malaga Appeal Court.

Rothschild lawyers prepare for Court war

Rothschild Bank International Limited Logo

N.M. Rothschild & Sons has taken the legal defense of the Equity Release (ER) cases in Spain as a matter of life or death.

In a very generous interpretation of Spanish procedural laws that allow parties to bring those witnesses deemed useful in support of their arguments, the following individuals have been lined up for an up and coming Court hearing to take place in Denia:

  • Dean Murphy, former boss of Hamilton’s Financial Services, in charge of selling hundreds of fraudulent ER contracts. Currently based in La Cala de Mijas, Málaga.
  • Stephen Dewsnip, former manager Rothschild Bank International Limited that operated, knowingly, without a license in Spain. Currently living in West Sussex.
  • Peter Rose, former director at Rothschild Bank International Limited, currently living in Guernsey.
  • Claire Whittet, currently working for Rothschild Bank International Limited.
  • David Shannon, currently working for Rothschild Bank International Limited.

ERVA lawyers have cast doubt over the convenience -for Rothschild- of deposing those who explicitly extolled the false virtues of the Credit Select Mortgages, namely:

  • IHT-friendly.
  • Fully apt for risk-averse pensioners.
  • “Different” from a normal mortgage, as Rothschild would “not look to treating customers as regular borrowers”.

In all logic, those no longer under the umbrella of Rothschild will surely feel that being subjected to harsh cross-examination from the victims’ expert counsel, after moving on with their personal and professional lives, will be both stressful and unnecessary, unless of course their is some financial gain in it.

The Denia judge has the right to use his discretion to decide on the pertinence of Rothschild’s witness requests.

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