Tag archives for Claudia Rolf-Urnieta

An Estepona Court accepts a criminal complaint against 2 directors of SG Hambros Gibraltar

A Court in Estepona has upheld a criminal complaint against Claudia Rolf-Urnieta, former MD of ABN AMRO N.V. Girbraltar, her husband Sergio Urnieta (who acted for the bank) and Emma Perez, from SG Hambros, for fraud.

The case relates to an Equity Release contract offered by unregulated ABN AMRO N.V. Gibraltar to the owners of a quiet rural hotel, based in Almogia.

When the ABN AMRO Gibraltar branch was wound up, its business was transferred to SG Hambros Gibraltar, together with the loan and investment book. However, whilst the latter has admitted to “taking over some loans”, they strongly deny being in charge of the investment portfolio (yet they keep sending regular updates!).

The loan was invested, by orders of Mrs. Claudia Rolf Urnieta, with a company not regulated to operate in Spain.

Additionally, at the behest of Mrs. Rolf-Urnieta, an offshore company would be set up to conceal the identity of the ultimate beneficiaries of the Almogia-based couple.

The above modus operandi was found to be acceptable to ABN AMRO Gibraltar lawyers, one of which was Mrs. Rolf-Urnieta’s husband, Sergio Urnieta.

Emma Perez denies any involvement with past events relating to ABN AMRO but will not disclose the whereabouts of the investment.

Claimants are due to appear on the 8th of June to ratify the criminal complaint.

The case has been widely covered by Spanish press:

Diario Sur 

La Opinion de Malaga

Europa Sur









SG Hambros

SG Hambros Gibraltar has reacted promptly to accusations of wrongdoing and, as one would expect, has rejected admitting any liability in respect to buying 100% of the private banking business of illegally-operating ABN AMRO N.V. Gibraltar Branch.

Lawyers acting for SG Hambros have confirmed that the take over was only in respect to the mortgage loan portfolio, and not the investment business.

This is stark contrast to what both firms publicised back in 2008.

Quietly though, alerted by the implications of having bought a business that could bring shame of the name SG Hambros Bank (Gibraltar), managing staff have reacted as one other bank -Nordea Banks S.A.- did: removing incriminating posts from internet.

The knee-jerk reaction is generally a clumsy move as not only does it leave a trail but too, ERVA has already pre-empted it by printing the original press release where SG Hambros confirms having acquired 100% of the Gibraltar-based private banking business of ABN AMRO Bank N.V. (Gibraltar).

This is the site where press releases are shown (the PR is of the 1st of July 2008).

This is the page that comes up when you click on the PR.

This is the press release viewers should have been able to read, had they not removed it.

SG Hambros is not new to complex tax-cheating artifices: it was already involved in a 2006 tax avoidance scheme that was busted by the HMRC last year.

Claudia Rolf-Urnieta’s Choice of Law Firms for ABN AMRO Gibraltar Branch


The lady in the far-right we all know: she is the former Head of Private Banking for ABN AMRO N.V. (Gibraltar) Branch and now Depute Chief Executive Office for SG Hambos Gibraltar.

Also, she is the brains behind ABN AMRO’s Gibraltar tax-evading “Equity Release”.

The Mediterranean-looking casually-dressed gentleman is Sergio Urnieta López, founding member of Martel & Urnieta, one of two ABN AMRO-appointed law firms that would explain the virtues, advantages and mechanics of the “Equity Release” scheme, from the Spanish perspective.

And he is also Claudia’s loving husband.

The mission of Martel-Urnieta was simple: sit with ABN AMRO potential customers and explain how they could achieve, legally, the reduction or mitigation of the Spanish Inheritance Tax (ISD).

They were also, we believe, commissioned with explaining that ABN AMRO were fully qualfied to operate in Spain, both taking funds from the public (after they had lent them) and investing them, abroad.

For providing the above “advice” they would charge the customer 0,5% of the value of the mortgage loan, plus VAT, notwithstanding they represented the “cowboy” bank ABN AMRO N.V. (Gibraltar) Branch at each Notary mortgage signing, with Powers of Attorney granted in Gibraltar.

Proof of their involvement can be read here (for client confidentiality reasons, names of ABN AMRO customers have been deleted).

Claudia, no need to worry, accusations of nepotism are clearly unfounded, ERVA does not believe that the firm Martel& Urnieta was selected because of family ties…nor we believe that they was a real conflict of interest situation.


ABN AMRO N.V. (Gibraltar), SG Hambros and Claudia Rolf-Urnieta

Claudia Rolf-Urnieta

You could just not make this stuff up.

A Gibraltar-based banker approaches the owners of a Malaga countryside boutique rural hotel, both originally from the north of Europe, and shares with them this appalling and fatalistic story that involves an expat, a Spanish unencumbered property (or with a small-ish mortgage), the inevitable life factor other tan taxes (death) and punitive inheritance levies on the designated inheritors that meant they were unable to inherit the family home and consequently, lost it to the Spanish Government.

Imagine then that this banker says that ABN AMRO N.V. (Gibraltar) has a remedy to legally avoid Spanish IHT that involves the following:

  • An offshore company, domiciled in Belize, New Zealand or any other tax haven, incorporated by Gibraltar-lawyers recommended by ABN AMRO N.V. (Gibraltar).
  • A loan to the offshore company, for up to almost 3 million Euros, documented under the laws of Gibraltar and guaranteed with a mortgage on the boutique hotel.
  • An investment porfolio, managed by ABN AMRO N.V. (Gibraltar), where the loan capital is to be invested, away from the prying eyes of the Spanish “Hacienda”.
  • A declaration of trust or of ultimate beneficiary owner, in a separate document, kept under lock and key to ensure full anonimity of the ultimate owners of the funds comfortably invested in a tax haven.
  • Upon death, a taylor-made Spanish IHT declaration that records the fictitious mortgage as a deductible debt. And of course, no mention of the loan capital sitting with ABN AMRO N.V. (Gibraltar), in the name of an offshore company which incorporation was fully recommended, accepted and endorsed by the bank.

We are sure you don’t need more to establish that this is nothing short of a tax defrauding scheme involving customer deception.

And judging by the looks of the lady in the picture, she has got to be the culprit!

Indeed, Claudia Rolf-Urnieta is the brains behind this “Equity Release” artifice, craft or stratagem devised to wilfully defraud her clients and the Tax Office in Spain, in a single act, in a country where she probably lives and enjoys most of her non-working time, and, most fascinating, borrows a surname from: Urnieta.


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