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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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