Category Archives: In the Media

Story by Ewan Palmer | IB Times
nigel goldman

A British poker player who has previously been convicted for fraud has reportedly gone missing after being embroiled in a multi-million pound scam.

Nigel Goldman, 56, who is said to count Princess Diana’s former lover James Hewitt and Sir Mark Thatcher as his friends, is sought by lawyers following claims he scammed investors out of millions of pounds using a Ponzi scheme – where old investors embezzle money put in by new ones. Goldman, who boasts of having paid for the title ‘Sir’, has twice been convicted of fraud in the UK, which he then wrote about in his 2012 autobiography High Stakes: How I Blew £14 million. It is now claimed the businessman has gone missing from his mansion in Marbella amid claims that clients who invested in one of his schemes are out of pocket by at least €3.5m (£2.5m). Antonio Flores, the lawyer representing Goldman’s clients, told the Independent: “I think he’s not done anything of what he said he would be doing – invest the money for people. “I think he’s just had a classic vulgar Ponzi scheme, where he just dips in [to the money] whenever he feels like it and pays out clients who shout the loudest.” Flores added he believes Goldman has “acted totally outside of any regulation”.

nigel goldman

Flores said that the full amount of money Goldman owes could be far higher than the initial estimate, as he believes as many as 75% of his potential victims have yet to come forward. The lawyer added that police have not yet issued an arrest warrant for Goldman, but they are “not far from doing that”. Goldman has denied any wrongdoing and claims this time he has been the victim of a scam, along with his clients. According to the Birmingham Mail, before Goldman disappeared, he texted a friend with the message: “Things started to go wrong just over a year ago. It seems some of my brokers turned out to be running a Ponzi scheme with everyone’s money. Since then I have been playing catch-up. “I did not set out to be a thief.” Giles Brown, a journalist for ex-pat newspaper The Olive Press, said: “Nigel is a rogue. Shake his hand and you count your fingers afterwards – but he always kept good company, he knew his wine and cigars and was impeccably dressed. “Now he’s vanished, leaving behind the furniture and three cats.” According to a fellow poker player, who did not wish to be named, Goldman may be in Morocco as he had spoken to him while he was in the north African country in early January. “Unbeknown to me, he was on his toes,” he said.

Story by Mike Lockley | Birmingham Mail

A Birmingham poker ace, who ranks royal love rat James Hewitt and Sir Mark Thatcher among friends, has vanished from his luxury Costa del Sol home amid a major cash probe.

Broker “Sir” Nigel Goldman – he boasts of paying for the peerage – is being sought by Spanish police probing claims that people who entrusted him to invest their cash were left empty-handed and unable to access their funds.

It is not the first time that the playboy, who lived in exclusive Petersham Place, Edgbaston, before moving to Marbella, has been accused of dealing clients a duff hand.

In his own book, titled ‘High Stakes: How I blew £14 million’ he confesses to being banged up twice for fraud.

One review of the autobiography notes: “Goldman seems to show little remorse – and more than a little contempt – for the victims whose money he lived off so handsomely.”

This time, however, Goldman claims he has been duped himself, along with those who are demanding answers.

In a text message, he insisted: “Things started to go wrong just over a year ago. It seems some of my brokers turned out to be running a Ponzi scheme with everyone’s money. Since then I have been playing catch-up.

“I did not set out to be a thief.”

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to its investors from existing capital or new capital paid by new investors, rather than from profit earned by the individual or organisation running the operation.

Goldman has admitted in writing to owing as much as €800,000 (£658,000)

One former Birmingham business contact of the gambler, who dealt in gold and coins, said he was not surprised by the fresh controversy.

“He can’t help himself,” shrugged the coins specialist. “He’s a very clever bloke. If he did the right things, he’d make a fortune.”

Goldman, a feature at the world’s biggest poker tournaments, has not been seen for three weeks following complaints about his Tangier-based company, International Financial Investment.

A lawyer acting for investors who say they have lost cash, has publicly stated that he is chasing £2.5 million, and that the sum is rising daily.

Antonio Flores, of Lawbird solicitors, has placed advertisements in Spanish newspapers in an attempt to track down public school-educated Goldman, nicknamed “Naughty Nigel” by the Costa press.

Yet Goldman, son of a Birmingham dentist, seemed to have turned over a new leaf after immersing himself in Marbella’s bustling social circuit just over ten years ago. His gleaming Mercedes and glamorous girlfriend, Suzanne Couling, were part and parcel of the VIP scene and were regularly spotted at Hewitt’s Polo House restaurant – THE place to be in Marbella,

Story by IAN JOHNSTON | The Independent

A high-rolling poker player and Costa del Sol society figure, said to be friends with Princess Diana’s former lover James Hewitt, has gone missing – leaving investors millions of pounds out of pocket.

Nigel Goldman was previously convicted for fraud and jailed in England, writing openly about his crimes in his autobiography, High Stakes: How I Blew £14 million, and then set himself up as an investment adviser near Marbella.

But now the flamboyant businessman, who styled himself as a “Sir”, cannot be found by his clients, more than a dozen of whom claim they are owed money after investing in one of his schemes.

Antonio Flores, the lawyer representing Mr Goldman’s clients, said complaints had been made to police in Spain and authorities in the UK. “I think he’s not done anything of what he said he would be doing – invest the money for people,” Mr Flores told The Independent, outlining the allegations. “I think he’s just had a classic vulgar Ponzi scheme, where he just dips in [to the money] whenever he feels like it and pays out clients who shout the loudest.” Mr Flores said Mr Goldman “acted totally outside of any regulation”.

The total amount of money involved could actually be far higher than first thought as typically in cases like this only 25 to 30 per cent of clients come forward, the lawyer said. He said one of Mr Goldman’s clients was missing a “large amount of money”.

According to emails seen by The Independent, a client sent a message to Mr Goldman in November saying: “PLEASE DEPOSIT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. The amount you are holding is £500k.”

A reply from an email address used by Mr Goldman said: “Just managed to pay in 425.00 for you – sorry that’s all I can mange [sic] for now, it’s a small start, but more importantly, a gesture of my good intentions for the future.”

Jon Clarke, of The Olive Press, the expat newspaper which broke the story, said he believed the total sum could run into “tens of millions”.

“I would say on the Costa del Sol, Costa del Crime, he was one of the most colourful characters, one of the best-known, and best-loved by some people, a regular at charity events,” he said. “He was charming and definitely funny … but I trusted him about as far as I could throw him.”

Mr Clarke said Mr Goldman was “very good friends” with Mr Hewitt and also claimed to know Sir Mark Thatcher, another leading light of the social scene.

Mr Goldman did not respond to requests for comment on Facebook and to two email addresses he has used. But in a text message published by the Birmingham Mail, Mr Goldman appeared to claim that he himself was a victim of a scam. “It seems some of my brokers turned out to be running a Ponzi scheme with everyone’s money… I did not set out to be a thief,” he said.

Michel Euesden, managing director of Euro Weekly News, where Mr Goldman once worked as a restaurant reviewer, said the businessman had persuaded people he had “gone straight” by saying he had “a pathological fear of returning to jail”. “People have lost their life’s savings,” she wrote. “Here is my personal message to Sir [sic] Nigel… One day soon it will be the last drop of champagne you savour in a very long time.”

Story by MIA DE GRAAF | Daily Mail
  • Nigel Goldman, 56, made fortune playing poker and twice jailed for fraud
  • Left three cats in Marbella mansion when he left three weeks ago
  • Lawyers across peninsula claim he has fled with more than €3million
  • Former classmate of Topshop giant Philip Green said to be in Morocco

 

A British poker champion is being hunted by Spanish police after disappearing from his Costa del Sol mansion with more than £2.5million of investors’ money.

Nigel Goldman, 56, who counts James Hewitt and Sir Mark Thatcher among his close friends, was been twice-imprisoned for fraud before relocating to southern Spain.

Now lawyers across the peninsula have launched appeals to reclaim at least €3million (£2.5million) – a figure rising every day.

The only trace of Goldman since he vanished in Marbella – reportedly leaving three cats – has been a text message to a former employer three weeks ago which read: ‘I did not set out to be a thief.’

Friends claim he is now in Morocco.

Spanish police started receiving complaints about his Tangiers-based company, International Financial Investment, three weeks ago.

Goldman, a former classmate of retail giant Philip Green, has admitted in writing to owing £658,000 (€800,000), however claims made to the Guardia Civil and UK fraud crime watchdog Action Fraud calculate the debt as more than triple.

Goldman, who drives a red Ferrari and collects champagne, made his fortune at some of the world’s biggest poker tournaments.

 

He laid bare his history of dishonesty in a book of memoirs – High Stakes: How I Blew £14 million – published in 2012.

A review of his book reads: ‘Goldman seems to show little remorse – and more than a little contempt – for the victims whose money he lived off so handsomely.’

Despite his past, Goldman believes he has been duped by other brokers were running a Ponzi scheme – where old investors embezzle money put in by new investors.

Inquiries: Lawyers in three Spanish cities - Jaen, Almeira and Malaga - are chasing the ex-convict for £3million

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Inquiries: Lawyers in three Spanish cities – Jaen, Almeira and Malaga – are chasing the ex-convict for £3million

 

Disappeared: He is said to have fled his Marbella mansion on January 3, leaving his three cats behind

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Disappeared: He is said to have fled his Marbella mansion on January 3, leaving his three cats behind

 

The broker, who counts Mark Thatcher and James Hewitt as friends, lives in luxury and collects Champagne

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The broker, who counts Mark Thatcher and James Hewitt as friends, lives in luxury and collects Champagne

 

According to the Birmingham Mail, he texted a friend to say: ‘Things started to go wrong just over a year ago.

‘It seems some of my brokers turned out to be running a Ponzi scheme with everyone’s money. Since then I have been playing catch-up.’

Giles Brown, a journalist for ex-pat newspaper The Olive Press in Spain said: ‘Nigel is a rogue.

‘Shake your hand and you count your fingers afterwards – but he always kept good company, he knew his wine and cigars and was impeccably dressed.

‘Now he’s vanished, leaving behind the furniture and three cats.’

He claims his had been duped by investors running a Ponzi scheme

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Having been jailed twice for fraud, he laid bare his dishonesty in a 2012 book, High Stakes: How I Blew £14m

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Goldman was jailed twice for fraud and laid bare his dishonesty in a 2012 book, High Stakes: How I Blew £14m

 

Denial: He has admitted to owing ¿800,000 but believes he has been duped by investors in a Ponzi scheme

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Denial: He has admitted to owing ¿800,000 but believes he has been duped by investors in a Ponzi scheme

 

Lawyer Antonio Flores, said: ‘So far we have spoken to victims in Almeria, Malaga and Jaen.

‘In our most recent estimate it looks like reaching €3million.

‘It is large scale, Police have not yet issued an arrest warrant, but they are not far from doing that.’

Goldman offered investments in a host of commodities, including bullion, stocks and shares, despite not qualifying as a regulated financial advisor due to his criminal convictions.

Although police are currently scouring Spain for Goldman, a fellow poker player, who did not want to be named, claims he spoke to Goldman on January 3 who told him he was in Morocco.

Goldman is believed to be in MOrocco although police are currently hunting the peninsula

Goldman is believed to be in MOrocco although police are currently hunting the peninsula

 

Goldman offered investments in a host of commodities although he does not qualify as a regulated financial advisor due to his criminal convictions

Goldman offered investments in a host of commodities although he does not qualify as a regulated financial advisor due to his criminal convictions

He said: ‘He’s in Morocco. Well, he was on January 3.

‘I spoke to him. Unbeknown to me, he was on his toes.

‘I have known him for years. We have sat opposite each other at many a poker table.

‘He didn’t have much to say, which is unlike him.’

A spokesman for Auction Fraud confirmed complaints had been logged by the organisation about Goldman.

If those complaints are upheld, information gathered will be passed to either the Metropolitan Police of Fraud Investigation Bureau.

Story by Jon Clarke and Giles Brown | The Olive Press

He was one of Andalucia’s best known expats, a loveable rogue who was said to have mended his ways. But recent ventures have put paid to that, with clients of Nigel Goldman demanding to know where their money has gone. The Olive Press reveals how he went from boarding school rower to one of Europe’s leading fraudsters and how it has happened for a FIFTH time

EXCLUSIVE: By Jon Clarke and Giles Brown

IT was characteristic of the larger-than-life fraudster Nigel Goldman that when the Olive Press recently reported how he was being sought in a three million euro financial scandal, that he ‘liked’ it on his Facebook page.

The perennial joker, who regaled the coast with stories and jokes at fundraising galas, on radio shows and in his regular restaurant column in the Euro Weekly News, could never quite face up to the truth.

Somehow he liked to believe that he was one of the chosen few, a friend to the stars, including Joan Collins, Anthony Worrall Thomson and James Hewitt. And that he was something of a celebrity himself.

Driving a top-of-the-range Mercedes and living in a palatial home in Elviria, near Marbella, ‘Sir’ Nigel, as he insisted on being called, liked to give the impression of being a staunch pillar of the community.

The truth however is rather different: For Goldman is a fraudster, who simply cannot help himself.

Over nearly three decades the portly businessman has made and lost millions of his – and more crucially – other people’s money… and then made light of it.

Indeed, in his bestselling autobiography High Stakes, he wrote of the loss of 14 million euros: “It was my clients’ money. But I wasn’t going to let that small detail worry me. I was out to enjoy myself”.

The book, published in 2004, tells the story of his rollercoaster ride in which he conned hundreds of victims over 10 years and landed up in prison twice.

More crucially it ends in Spain a decade ago, having fled the UK over a third scandal in which the ‘shit hit the fan’ and he ‘fuc**d the bank’ again.

So, one might well ask why anyone would consider putting their money in the hands of such a shady advisor?

A basic search of the internet throws up some eye-catching information on Goldman, who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and attended a 30,000-euros-a-year school, known as the ‘Jewish Eton’ Carmel College.

There are the eight entries on the Rip Off Report website alone, not to mention countless other pages, including one for another book by him on gambling scams.

But the Costa del Sol is a long way away from Britain and, as many people say, people often ‘leave their brains at the airport’ when they arrive here.

But the sad truth is he was built up by a succession of radio shows and his regular newspaper columns, that also included his ‘Guru’ articles in the magazine Smart Gambler plus a regular appearance in Talk Radio Europe’s Viewpoint programme along with his good friend Barry Nathan.

It was with Nathan that he also became best known as the coast’s leading bon viveur. Accompanied by Nathan, Nigel indulged his taste for fine dining, styling himself as a Marbella Michael Winner for his regular column in the Euro Weekly News, a paper he tipped as the coast’s ‘key’ business.

Described as the ‘gourmet dining correspondent’ he would review any restaurant that advertised and when not at work, would spend his time hanging out in James Hewitt’s seminal restaurant Polo House, boasting how the ex of Princess Diana was a ‘close chum’ of his.

It certainly worked with the ladies. Rarely without a glass of champagne in his hand and a floozy on his arm (his Facebook page is literally littered with photographs of a string of louche looking women) he was seen as the archetypal playboy.

And he wasn’t scared to travel to see ‘his girlfriends’, dating a Scottish food blogger Annie Manson, better known as Annie B, from Vejer de la Frontera, as well as more recently the glamorous Suzanne Couling, from Berkshire.

Somewhere in the ether, he had mysteriously ‘acquired’ a knighthood and insisted that the prefix ‘Sir’ went before his name. He boasted how it got him upgraded on flights and he even had it etched on his credit cards and his bank statements.

After winning a trading competition on Talk Radio Europe’s previous guise REM, in which he turned 100,000 euros into 2.7million, he pretty much had it made. The die had been cast.

In the words of one leading media owner, Goldman had ‘been given a second chance, and somehow we all fell for it’.

He started by offering his services as a financial advisor and trader, via a string of companies including Petersham coins and stamps, Harvard Private Client and, most recently, International Financial Investments (whose acronym ironically spells ‘IFI’).

Promising guaranteed returns of over 10% on investments, he backed it up by insisting he had millions invested in the gold and coin market, as well as numerous property schemes in Spain and Morocco.

Unsuspecting clients were quickly bowled over and sent money to a string of accounts in Spain, Germany, the UK, the Isle of Man and even Tangiers, and were assured by the smooth-talking Goldman that they were investing wisely.

As had been his modus operandi in the UK, he snared his clients via costly advertising and trade shows, where, as he wrote in his book, you found investors with ‘defenselessness, greed and gullibility’.

His main thrust for business in Spain appears to have been via his radio show on Spectrum FM giving financial advice, market news and share tips in a five minute slot each day, plus an extended 30 minute show on Friday.

He would then meet clients at a number of upmarket hotels around the region to ‘help them’ invest their money.

One couple based in Mojacar, in Almeria, told the Olive Press this week how they met him with his girlfriend Suzanne at the five star Parador after his regular show, which was recorded in the nearby Spectrum FM studio.

Immediately offered a ‘glass of something’ they were schmoozed in the classic way of a fraudster and promised an amazing ‘minimum’ monthly return of 11% on their investment.

“We met him a few times before investing and really thought he was kosher,” explained the retired purchasing manager, 63, from Accrington, who has asked to remain anonymous for legal reasons.

“He was sold as this seriously knowledgeable moneyman on Spectrum FM and he would roll up in his black Mercedes and always had a nice room at the hotel.”

He would brag about his money and last time we saw him boasted about having recently bought 12 beachfront apartments in Tangier.

He continues: “He would brag about his money and last time we saw him boasted about having recently bought 12 beachfront apartments in Tangier. He said he was hoping to make loads of money from them. I think he was planning to move there.”

The end result of a couple of meetings and a meal out with the victims was a number of transfers between 2011 and 2013 that amounted to 146,000 pounds.

In return they received a ‘guaranteed income bond’, which paid back 11% a month and always did, with often a bit more, until last year.

“We invested into a range of his products, including his ‘Fantasy Portfolio’, which is precious metals, I think, and more recently IFI,” added the expat, who has now reported his dealings to the police.

Things seemed to be fine until in October their monthly payment did not arrive.

“When we contacted him he said something about an embargo over a tax bill from 2008 and all his assets had been frozen. We have heard nothing since and are very worried about our investment.”

Another victim Geoffrey Whitton, 48, based in Madrid, believes that Goldman had been planning his departure from Spain for some months and knew the ‘gravy train was coming to an end’.

The writer, who invested 20,000 euros with Goldman, smelt a rat and came down to Marbella last summer to confront him.

But, while he wanted to know what had happened with his money Goldman was more interested in ‘loading’ his investment and getting more from the former chef, from Cornwall.

“He said he was going away in mid October and that he would be rid of me then. I didn’t really know what he meant. I do now,” said Whitton, who has cooked at Kensington Palace.

Curiously when the Olive Press had probed Goldman on the subject in November, he had insisted via email that Whitton was ‘unreliable’ and had been making up claims of sex abuse about him.

“He has made false allegations against me of being involved in a child abuse ring in Morocco,” he said. “I believe he is of the opinion that I have ‘done a runner’ with his funds. This is plainly untrue, and I would urge you to be very careful of this individual.”

Another client, a publisher based in America, believes that the wheels started to come off when Goldman started to invest his clients’ money into a Ponzi scheme run by a now disgraced firm MMS.

First investing with him in 2008, the businessman has stayed in close contact with Goldman, and by his own admittance has made a ‘healthy profit’ from him.

He said: “Goldman introduced me to a company called MMS (Montague Morgan Slade) which I know handled large sums of his clients’ funds.

“I would suspect this is where the problem lies, as this firm received a lot of bad publicity recently for running a Ponzi scheme, and one of the directors ended up in prison. I believe a lot of Goldman’s clients funds ended up in this scheme.”

He added: “I made a healthy profit from his trading and I am scared that I may be asked to repay my profits to make good the losses suffered by others, as is what happened in the Madoff case.”

Lawyer Antonio Flores from Lawbird, in Marbella, who is representing a number of the victims, fears that the scandal has all the hallmarks of a Ponzi-type scheme and so far all that is known is the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

He said last night: “We believe the fraud is already well over three million euros. We have so far spoken to 10 victims and we know of another who gave him 850,000 euros alone.

“He was very good and his schemes were not just reserved for the British expats. One German expat walked in here the other day having invested 50,000 with him.”

So where is Nigel now?

EMPTY: Goldman's four bedroom Elviria home

EMPTY: Goldman’s four bedroom Elviria home

When the Olive Press visited his four bedroom Elviria home this week, he had clearly moved out.

While the letterbox still bore his name, neighbours insisted that he has not been seen for months and he had ‘fled’ even leaving three of his cats.

“The police were around one day asking questions and the next day he had literally gone,” revealed expat Jennifer Cook. “There was always a string of people coming in and out and Nigel gave the impression he was a fixer. He could sort anything out.”

It seems he is currently dividing his time between the UK and Morocco, where he has invested millions in real estate deals.

According to one Olive Press reader, who bumped into him in at hotel lobby in Fez, last week, he was ‘very unhappy’ to be recognised.

“He has grown a moustache and lost five kilos” he said. “And when he realised that he had been recognised, he fled”.

The case is being partly handled by the Guardia Civil in Mojacar and by the National Police in Marbella. While they are being tight-lipped about the case at present, lawyer Flores believes that an arrest warrant will be issued within weeks.

“And then the heat will really be on,” he said.

It seems that although everyone may well deserve a second chance, Goldman has more than blown his and, with the authorities now actively looking for him, his champagne lifestyle may once again be over.

Euro Weekly News

AN expatriate who lost €1million to a ‘thieving bank’ has taken it to court.

Euan Armstrong, 75, says he has lost his life savings after being sold an ‘illegal’ equity release scheme that was supposed to protect his estate from inheritance tax.
Danske bank ‘mortgaged his house’ then invested the cash in its own financial products. Not only did Danske not deliver on the promised €35,000 of annual investment income but they then began charging him tens of thousands in commissions and ‘charges’ – €18,000 the first year, even more the next, up to an average of €55,000 per year – before  trying to re-possess his home near Coin.

That has left Euan, and he says, hundreds of others out of pocket to the tune of possibly hundreds of million of euros.

Armstrong told EuroWeekly that “my €1 million investment was spiraling downward to where by 2010, I’d lost €850,000 of it,” with Danske after him to pay what they had lost. Left destitute, he says, “I had to put my own house up for rental in order to live and eat.” He has since been forced out of retirement and back to work as a yacht captain.

NOT GIVING UP: Euan Armstrong says he is one of hundreds

Giving up the fight against Danske is impossible for Armstrong because, according to him, “I’m only one of hundreds.” In response, he linked up with fellow ‘equity release’ fraud victim Ian Sherdley to form the Equity Release Victims Association (ERVA, www.erva.es) which empowers similar victims to speak out with ERVA’s support. Antonio Flores of Lawbird Legal Services confirms that 500-600 people have fallen prey to illegal mortgages schemes totaling €175 million along the Costa.

Armstrong accuses multiple banks—“They’re all doing it,” he says—of targeting the elderly, retired demographic, those without mortgages, so as “to get their money off them.” In the meantime, Armstrong claims innocent people are dying from corollary effects like alcoholism. He says the stress has brought on an irregular heart beat while his brother John has since passed away. “The banks are waiting for people to die,” he states, explaining that if banks wait it out long enough, they win. Law firms fighting these cases have made little progress because the banks “just don’t answer.” Armstrong sentiments were unequivocal: “They’re thieving, robbing *****.”

Armed with 1,030 pages of evidence on Armstrong’s case, a Malaga court has overturned a previous Danske appeal by declaring the case is indeed criminal, not merely civil. Now Henrik Hjerrild and Morten Runo, two top executives from Danske Bank International S.A.’s Luxembourg office, have been summoned by a Fuengirola court for suspected criminal financial dealings.

What is next for Armstrong? “Wait and hope the bank will cancel the mortgage. Then I’ll sue for damages. The situation has brought financial ruin.”

Story by Peter Nyholm | Business DK

Danske Bank har angiveligt rådgivet kunder til at spare i skat ved at optage gæld i deres spanske hus. På den måde kunne de bl.a. undgå at betale arveafgifter. Pengene skulle bruges til at investere via Danske Banks bankselskab i Luxembourg, men i dag er store dele af kundernes formuer tabt, og derfor skal to af Danske Banks folk nu forklare sig i retten.

Beskyldningerne går på, at banken i processen både har vildledt kunderne og begået bedrageri. Sådan lyder det fra advokat Antonio Flores fra Lawbird Legal Services – et advokatkontor i Malaga, som fører en sag mod Danske Bank på vegne af nogle briter. Hans mål er at få banken til at betale erstatning til kunderne.

Det skal tilføjes, at han er aflønnet efter en no cure, no pay-ordning, så han får en procentdel af erstatningerne, hvis han vinder sagerne. Han har ført kamp med flere andre danske banker, der har ligget i lignende opgør om salg af investeringsprodukter baseret på lån i fast ejendom via Luxembourg eller andre lande, der havde status af skattely.

»Nu har retten bestemt sig for at kalde de her Danske Bank-personer til Spanien for at blive afhørt. Sagen skal klarlægge, om der skal rejses en kriminalsag. Dokumenterne er allerede godkendt. De viser, at Danske Bank begik vildledende markedsføring og bedrageri,« lyder det fra Antonio Flores, som oplyser, at det er rådgiverne Morten Runo Waaben og Henrik Hjerrild Hansen fra Danske Bank Luxembourg, der skal forklare Danske Banks sag i retten. Det skal dog ikke forveksles med, at de er sigtede i sagen.

Et centralt dokument i sagen er såkaldt fact sheet fra 2003 fra Danske Bank. Her redegør banken for de fordele, der er ved et såkaldt Capital Assurance-produkt. Der nævnes fem forskellige punkter, hvorved udenlandske kunder bosat i Spanien opnår en skattefordel ved at gå ind i Danske Banks model.

»Disse dokumenter om skattefordele var ikke sande, de var løgn. Men man kan ikke afvise, at Danske Bank har misforstået disse produkter, men det er fuldstændig klart, at man ikke må bruge dette produkt til at omgå skat, det er ulovligt,« siger advokaten.

KPMG afviser godkendelse

For at gøre sagen endnu mere pikant oplyses det i dokumentet fra Danske Bank, at »The tax benefits of the Capital Assurance have been approved by KPMG«, men nu oplyser Antonio Flores, at han er i besiddelse af et brev fra KPMG, hvori de afviser at have godkendt modellen:

»Skattekontoret siger, at det er ulovligt, og KPMG siger, at de aldrig har godkendt produktet.«

I den konkrete sag oplyser advokaten, at et britisk ægtepar har belånt deres ejendom med en mio. euro.

De penge har Danske Bank så investeret, men det er gået skidt efter krisen, og der er nu kun 300.000 euro tilbage.

Selv om Antonio Flores allerede har tabt sagen ved en civil ret, er målet fortsat, at kunderne skal stilles, som om de aldrig er indgået i aftalen.

Det kan angiveligt blive en dyr omgang for banken, for Antonio Flores påstår, at 100 spanske kunder er i en lignende situation i Danske Bank. Det antal afviser direktør for Danske Bank-koncernens private banking-område, Klaus Mønsted Pedersen, dog:

»Jeg kan ikke forholde mig til det tal, jeg ved simpelthen ikke, hvad han taler om.« Hvor mange er der så?

»Det er ret få. Men jeg ved ikke, hvor han har det tal fra. Det er far out. Det er en ti år gammel sag, som tidligere er tabt i en civil ret. Nogle forsøger at slippe for at betale et lån, fordi de er kommet i klemme. De gør alt, hvad de kan. Jeg synes, at det er tankevækkende, at han kører det her i pressen og ikke i retten.«Men kan du bekræfte, at der er kunder, som har tabt penge på at investere i Luxembourg? 

»Hvis man under krisen tog et lån og investerede, så gav det tab for mange mennesker. Sådan er det jo. Meget af det er kommet tilbage, men det kan man ikke forhindre.«Hvordan forholder du dig til påstanden om, at I har vildledt kunderne og begået bedrageri?

»Jeg er da irriteret over det. Men sådan er det at drive virksomhed. Det kan man ikke undgå at løbe ind i.« Vil du afvise, at det har noget på sig?»Jeg vil afvise fuldstændig, at der er noget som helst på den sag,« I materialet står der, at der er fordele rent skattemæssigt? »Det er for mig at se bare almindelig information om, hvordan sådan noget fungerer.« Men er det ikke en god forretning for banken. Man har lånt en masse penge ud og investeret dem samtidig med?

»Bankvæsen handler jo om at foretage investeringer og yde lån og modtage indlån og betalingsformidling. Det har været en fornuftig forretning, men ikke mere fornuftig end alt muligt andet.«

 

——

 

Danish Bank has allegedly advised clients to save tax by raising debt in their Spanish house . That way they could include avoid paying inheritance taxes. The money was used to invest via Danish Bank banking company in Luxembourg, but today much of customers’ fortunes lost and therefore two of the Danish Bank people now explain himself in court.

The accusation is that the bank in the process both misled customers and committed fraud. So says lawyer Antonio Flores from Lawbird Legal Services – a law firm in Malaga, leading a case against the Danish Bank on behalf of some Britons. His goal is to get the bank to pay compensation to customers.

It should be added that he was paid at a no cure, no pay scheme , so he gets a percentage of the damages if he wins the cases. He led fight with several other Danish banks that have been in similar showdown on the sale of investment products based on mortgages via Luxembourg or other countries that had the status of tax havens.

“Now the court has decided to call these Danish Bank persons to Spain for questioning . The case must clarify whether to bring a criminal . The documents have already been approved. They show that the Danish Bank committed deceptive marketing and fraud , ” says Antonio Flores, who says that it is the advisors Morten Runo Waaben and Henrik Hjerrild Hansen from the Danish Bank Luxembourg to explain Danish Bank case in court . It should not be confused with the fact that they are suspects in the case.

A key document in this case is called a fact sheet from 2003 from the Danish Bank . This explains the bank for the benefits of a so-called Capital Assurance product. There are five different points , whereby foreign customers residing in Spain achieve a tax advantage by going into the Danish Bank model.

“These documents about the tax benefits were not true , they were lying. But one can not deny that the Danish Bank ‘ve got these products, but it is quite clear that one should not use this product to evade taxes , it is illegal , “said the lawyer.

KPMG denies approval

To make matters even more piquant is stated in the document of the Danish Bank that ” The tax benefits of the Capital Assurance havebeen godkendt by KPMG ,” but now says Antonio Flores that he is in possession of a letter from KPMG in which the denies having authorized the model:

” The tax office says it is illegal, and KPMG say they never approved the product . ”

In this particular case, the lawyer says that a British couple have mortgaged their property with a million . euro .

The money has Danish Bank so invested , but it has gone bad after the crisis, and there are now only 300,000 euros return.

Although Antonio Flores already has been unsuccessful in the civil courts , the goal remains that customers must be treated as if they never entered into the Agreement.

It can supposedly be an expensive place for the bank, Antonio Flores claims that 100 Spanish customers are in a similar situation in the Danish Bank . The number of rejects director of the Danish Bank Group’s private banking division , Klaus Mønsted Pedersen, however :

“I can not relate to the numbers I simply do not know what he’s talking about . ” How many are there ?

“It is quite a few . But I do not know where he got that number from . It’s far out . It is a ten year old case that was lost in a civilian court . Some try to avoid paying a loan because they get caught. They are doing everything they can. I think it is significant that he runs it here in the press and not the right . “But can you confirm that there are customers who have lost money investing in Luxembourg?

” If the crisis took a loan and invested , so gave it a loss for many people. How it is. Much of it has come back , but it can not prevent. ” How do you relate to the allegation that I have misled customers and committed fraud?
“I’m as annoyed by it. But this is to run a business . You can not avoid running into the ” Do you deny that it has something to do? ‘I reject completely that there is anything on the matter ,” the material says that there are benefits for tax purposes ? “It is for me to see just general information about how something works. ” But it is not good business for the bank. It has borrowed a lot of money and invested them at the same time ?

” Banking is all about making investments and providing loans and receive deposits and payments . It has been a sound business , but no more sensible than anything else. “

El Confidencial

El Juzgado de Instrucción número 1 de Fuengirola, que instruye el caso de un británico a quien se le vendió una hipoteca inversa extranjera, ha citado a declarar como imputados por un delito de “estafa y publicidad engañosa” a dos directivos del mayor banco de Dinamarca, el “Danske Bank”.

Según la providencia del Juzgado, los dos directivos, que actualmente trabajan en la sucursal luxemburguesa del banco, deberán presentarse el próximo 23 de enero para ser interrogados por el juez, según informa a través de un comunicado la defensa del afectado, el despacho de abogados Lawbird.

Además, el juzgado llamará a comparecer el mismo día a los representantes legales de “Danske Bank International S.A” como responsable civil directo, al no existir en la fecha de los hechos un “supuesto de responsabilidad penal para personas jurídicas”.

Según la querella presentada por el afectado en 2011, “Danske Bank” le convenció para que hipotecase su vivienda de retiro en Alhaurín el Grande (Málaga) en garantía de un préstamo, el cual, sin que pasara por España, “se invertía en operaciones de especulación financiera en Luxemburgo”.

El producto financiero, denominado “Capital Assurance”, prometía ventajas fiscales ajustadas a la legislación española en relación con los impuestos de patrimonio y sucesiones, al “reducir mediante el artificio de trabar hipoteca la base imponible de la vivienda”, que posteriormente se declaraba al fisco.

Según el gabinete de abogados, “Danske Bank” llegó incluso a “falsear” el contenido de un informe emitido por la consultora mundial KPMG sobre la fiscalidad del producto, al “interpretar torticeramente las conclusiones” del mismo.

La nota indica que KPMG ha considerado como “falsa” la afirmación que “Danske Bank” hacía en su folleto publicitario de que los beneficios fiscales del producto “Capital Assurance” han sido aprobados por la consultora, la cual requirió la eliminación del folleto publicitario de toda referencia a cualquier aprobación dada por KPMG.

El texto indica que recientemente Hacienda dictaminó que las hipotecas inversas extranjeras “no sirven para desgravar impuestos en España” a quienes poseen inmuebles en nuestro país, constituyendo “infracción tributaria sancionable” el hacerlo, incluso por vía penal, para el caso de que el montante defraudado supere los 120.000 euros.

En la misma causa penal está imputado el anterior presidente de “Danske Bank”, como máximo responsable de la entidad danesa, que se cree que “ha podido colocar en España un centenar de estos productos”. EFECOM

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Story by RAFAEL MÉNDEZ | El Pais

Simulación de la torre que planea Sierra Blanca Properties en Marbella.

Marbella no quiere ser Benidorm. Ni Singapur, Hong Kong o Dubai. La ciudad, símbolo durante años de la corrupción y el urbanismo destripaterrones, se ha levantado contra el plan que el Ayuntamiento, del PP, aprobó el pasado 22 de noviembre y que autoriza la construcción de cinco rascacielos de hasta 50 plantas cada uno. La alcaldesa, Ángeles Muñoz, ha anunciado que renuncia a la idea, pero el caso deja muchas lecturas: se reactiva la construcción en la costa más exclusiva y, contra pronóstico, en Marbella ha surgido un movimiento contra ella.

Pedro Rodríguez, presidente de la promotora Sierra Blanca Properties, no entiende por qué su plan para levantar una torre de 30 plantas en Marbella ha sublevado a buena parte de la ciudad. “Marbella tiene que competir en el mundo, con Dubai, Miami o Singapur, y este proyecto mete a la ciudad en el siglo XXI”, explica en su despacho.

El pleno aprobó en noviembre permitir la construcción de torres en cinco zonas

La oficina está a las afueras de Marbella, en la llamada milla de oro, junto a un centro comercial en cuyo aparcamiento abundan todoterrenos y coches de alta gama. Alrededor hay villas bajas pintadas en tonos ocre, piscinas, vallas altas, césped y palmeras. En la cafetería atienden en inglés. Podría ser Miami o California.

Rodríguez explica en su mesa llena de papeles cómo ve el futuro de la construcción en Marbella. “No tiene sentido construir si no haces algo excepcional. El producto de precio medio está en los bancos y en la Sareb [el banco malo] a precio muy bajo, así que hay que ir a por lo exclusivo”. Él, que ha capeado la crisis construyendo y vendiendo villas de lujo para extranjeros, creía poder dar el salto definitivo. Presentó al Ayuntamiento una torre de 30 plantas y 115 metros de altura. Su intención era vender 114 apartamentos de lujo de más de 300 metros cuadrados por, como mínimo, un millón y medio de euros cada uno.

La torre tendría 30 plantas y 114 apartamentos de lujo.

La idea de Rodríguez, pulcro afeitado, jersey de pico sin corbata y pelo repeinado, nace en Nueva York. Allí vivió durante años hasta que a mitad de los ochenta volvió a España. Explica que un chalé con piscina es caro de mantener y engorroso para quien solo pretende usarlo por temporadas. Una torre de lujo, sostiene, elimina esos inconvenientes. Y tiene una gran ventaja: tiene vistas al mar, algo que en Marbella empieza a escasear y que demandan los extranjeros, entre los que destacan los rusos. El promotor insiste en que la financiación no es problema y que podría vender los pisos antes de poner un ladrillo.

Podría sonar a baladronada, a otro castillo en el aire, pero en la ciudad todo el mundo le toma en serio. Rodríguez ha sido presidente de los empresarios de Marbella y no suele ir de farol. Nacido en Calzada de Calatrava (Ciudad Real) en 1947, tiene una biografía meritoria. Con nueve años comienza a trabajar en el campo y ayudando en la carnicería a su padre. De chaval se va a estudiar a Madrid, donde demuestra facilidad para los idiomas. Con distintos empleos se paga los estudios y aprende inglés y francés. Es el boom del turismo y Rodríguez entra en una agencia de viajes y después en una aerolínea.

Algunos promotores locales se opusieron al proyecto: “Rompen el paisaje”

Va a Nueva York y monta una agencia de viajes mayorista a España: Hispanidad Travel. Hace fortuna y abre oficinas en México, Miami y Madrid. “En 1985, cuando España entraba en la UE leí un libro llamadoMegatrends en el que explicaba que del norte de EE UU se estaba produciendo una migración hacia el sur, al cinturón del sol, porque las empresas ahorraban costes y la calidad de vida era mejor. Pensé que algo similar ocurriría en Europa y vine a Marbella”. La torre, que asegura que tendría la firma de Ricardo Bofill, culminaría esa historia de hombre hecho a sí mismo.

El 22 de noviembre el pleno municipal de Marbella sacó adelante, con la mayoría absoluta del PP, una “modificación puntual de elementos del Plan General de Ordenación Urbanística”, aprobado tres años antes para enterrar definitivamente el gilismo.

Una promotora proyectó levantar 30 plantas “con vistas al mar”

La aprobación inicial daba un mes de plazo para alegaciones. Nada más conocer el edicto, Carola Herrero fue una de las personas que se levantó contra los rascacielos. Esta arquitecta coordina la plataforma contra las torres. Es simbólico que no son los ecologistas los que más se han movido, sino urbanistas y promotores. En la cafetería de un hotel de Marbella, los coordinadores de la plataforma relatan sus pegas.

Allí está Rafael de la Fuente, un hombre afable de 72 años que fue concejal del PP en Marbella y exdirector de los hoteles de lujo de Monteros y Don Carlos, en Marbella, y Villamagna, en Madrid, entre otros. “Las alturas son muy peligrosas. De joven vi cómo las torres arruinaron Torremolinos. Era el primer destino turístico de España y en seis años lo destrozaron. La gente que viene del norte de Europa no quiere eso. Marbella es único y no podemos destrozarlo”.

“Mejora el bienestar de la población”

El pleno municipal de Marbella aprobó el pasado 22 de noviembre “una nueva tipología edificatoria singular en altura” y al ser una modificación puntual en principio no precisa el visto bueno de la Junta de Andalucía, del PSOE e IU.

El acuerdo define que los rascacielos podrán ir en cinco zonas de la ciudad, entre ellas la conocida como “la gitana”, la que tiene la categoría urbanística más avanzada y que es donde Pedro Rodríguez ha presentado su proyecto.

El documento que sustenta el edicto explica que los rascacielos “conllevan unas mejoras para el bienestar de la población por llevar implícita una revitalización de las áreas urbanas donde se implanten”

A su lado está el promotor Juan de Orbaneja: “Por muy bonita que pongas una torre rompe el paisaje y conlleva un efecto dominó: luego vendrán más y no podremos pararlas”. No es que en Marbella no haya edificios, pero es verdad que conserva un perfil relativamente homogéneo. “Ni Gil se atrevió a plantear rascacielos. El mayor lo hizo el marqués de Villaverde y tiene 20 plantas. Cuando Franco lo vio le preguntó que qué era eso. Le dijo que era la primera de un complejo y que al lado irían nueve más. Franco lo paró”, apostilla Carola Herrero.

El impulsor de la torre cree que las críticas al estilo son inventos. “¿Cuál es el estilo arquitectónico de la ciudad o arquitectura marbellí? En Marbella existen varios estilos, desde el centro árabe, edificios del desarrollismo o urbanizaciones anglosajonas. Incluso hay al menos cuatro torres”. Añade que el PGOU en vigor contempla la construcción de varias torres más y el proyecto del puerto que anunció el jeque Al Thani incluye rascacielos.

¿Qué habría pasado si Gil hubiera propuesto estos rascacielos? Los opositores creen que la ciudad se habría levantado, pero hay motivos para dudarlo. Antonio Flores, un abogado especializado en clientes extranjeros, opina que la Operación Malaya ha vacunado a la población: “La gente aquí ya no ve a los promotores como gente que busque el bien común. Ahora recela de los grandes planes urbanísticos”. Ni las promesas de empleo han evitado una dura campaña en la prensa contra el proyecto.

“La gente de aquí recela de los planes urbanísticos”, dice un abogado

Tanto, que el Ayuntamiento ha plegado velas. Desde el consistorio se insiste en que solo fue una idea y que como no hay consenso no se hará. “Ha habido demagogia y poca información”, y añaden que la intención del equipo de Gobierno era “generar riqueza y empleo con garantías y sin incrementar el volumen”.

Aun así, el Ayuntamiento no ha aclarado si va a revocar el acuerdo del pleno o si el parón es solo de palabra. Temiendo esto segundo, la plataforma sigue activa y recabando apoyos contra el plan. De la Fuente destaca la imagen que puede sacar Marbella de esto tras las mayorías absolutas que concedió al gilismo una y otra vez: “Quizá así mostremos que no somos un pueblo de descerebrados y maleantes”.

Story by ROB SMYTH | Burton Mail

LAWYERS in Europe have revealed a second complaint has been lodged in a case concerning an alleged multi-million pound overseas scam involving an East Staffordshire businessman.

It has emerged that more than 30 people from Britain and Ireland have now lodged a collective action in Madrid after losing hundreds of thousands of pounds to Ocean View Properties (OVP), a firm run by Colin Thomas, of Town Hill, Yoxall.

The case is set to be heard alongside a long-standing class action lawsuit against Spanish developer Ricardo Miranda Miret.

Mr Thomas has already been served a subpoena to appear at a court in Spain earlier this year, only for the case to be delayed after the trial judge had be to be changed.

A court date is expected to be revealed in the next few weeks so that the cases can be heard in tandem.

If Mr Thomas does not appear, a European arrest warrant will be issued.

Antonio Flores, the Spanish prosecuting lawyer from Marbella-based firm Lawbird, said: “The court has deemed it necessary that Colin Thomas and others attend personally, rather than giving a statement in the UK, on grounds of the complexity of the case, the volume of documentation and the principle of judicial immediacy.

“Once they are summoned again, failing to turn up could trigger the issue of an European Arrest Warrant.

“I don’t believe OVP knew anything about what was going on but this was a scam of huge proportions.”

A criminal claim for fraud and misappropriation of funds was lodged in February 2011 in a bid to recover deposits paid by investors to (OVP).

The company was set up in 2001 by buy-to-let millionaire Thomas and other businessmen.

It was behind a string of successful overseas propoerty enterprises but ran into difficulties when it became involved as a UK agent for Spanish developer Ricardo Miranda Miret.

More than 1,000 British investors, who paid a total of £45 million for ‘off-plan’ overseas property developments, have lost their money after the firm was formally dissolved in 2009 with the appointment of liquidators Grant Thornton.

The court claims are linked to developments which never materialised.

Mr Thomas is currently banned from being a company director for nine years following an Insolvency Service investigation.

He was also cleared by the Serious Fraud Office and Staffordshire Police following an investigation into the collapse of OVP.

Former OVP boss Thomas, others accused and Miranda have all ‘strongly denied’ any wrongdoing.