Category Archives: In the Media

Story by Juan José Fernández | Interviu

una-mansion-de-cinco-millones-por-90.000-euros_detalle_articuloÁngeles Muñoz, alcaldesa de Marbella, no incluyó en su declaración de bienes el valor real de su casa, que estuvo adscrita a una firma en Gibraltar, y sobre la que tiene suscrita una hipoteca en Luxemburgo. La oposición le critica que opere en paraísos fiscales; ella niega que haya cometido ilegalidad ni que tenga intención de defraudar al fisco. 

 

Se levanta en un fondo de saco de la urbanización Vega del Colorado, entre Marbella y Benahavís. Al frente no tiene ningún vecino que interfiera las vistas. El jardín desemboca en un barranco verde, cuyo borde se eleva sobre la autopista AP7, lo suficientemente alejada como para que el eco del tráfico no turbe la paz del césped y las palmeras. Por delante, la extensión de lujosos chalés y clubes de golf de Nueva Andalucía, Puerto Banús y, al fondo, el mar. En el paseo que lleva a la entrada principal, una pequeña rotonda y un asta blanca en la que ondea una bandera de España de buen tamaño. Es la casa, en fin, de una mujer tan española como lo pueda ser Ángeles Muñoz Uriol, alcaldesa de Marbella.

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Story by José Carlos Villanueva | eldiario.es
Antonio-Lawbird-Marbella-Luxemburgo-JCV_EDIIMA20140320_0701_13

El abogado Antonio Flores, responsable de Lawbird, durante la rueda de prensa que ha ofrecido este jueves en Marbella sobre la inversión en Luxemburgo de la alcaldesa / JCV

El responsable de la firma Lawbird, que destapó la inversión de Ángeles Muñoz en Luxemburgo, anima a la regidora a dar explicaciones públicas en lugar de denunciarle ante el Colegio de Abogados.

Antonio Flores sostiene que la operación de “ingeniería financiera” supondría el ahorro del 34% en el impuesto de sucesiones.

“Atribuimos a la alcaldesa la compra de un producto destinado a evadir impuestos”. Así de claro y contundente se ha mostrado este jueves el abogado Antonio Flores, responsable del bufete Lawbird, al corroborar la inversión de 3,1 millones de euros en una entidad bancaria de Luxemburgo en 2010 que llevó a cabo la sociedad Crasel Panorámica S.L.,  propiedad al cincuenta por ciento de la regidora marbellí, Ángeles Muñoz (PP).

Flores, que ha comparecido en rueda de prensa durante más de una hora, ha apuntado, como novedad, que el producto financiero suscrito con el banco luxemburgués Nordea Bank SA podría suponer para la alcaldesa y demás beneficiarios “un ahorro del 34%  sobre el impuesto de sucesiones”.

La sociedad de la alcaldesa contrató un crédito hipotecario de 3,1 millones sobre su mansión, tasada en 4,7 millones de euros en 2010. Se trata de un inmueble que nunca había tenido carga alguna desde que fue adquirido en 2003 por la alcaldesa y su marido, a través de una sociedad gibraltareña.

“Nosotros no acusamos, sino que atribuimos a la alcaldesa la compra de un producto para no pagar impuestos”. Al tratarse del impuesto de sucesiones, el jurista ha aclarado que “no se defrauda  hasta que uno fallece”. Así pues, sostiene que “la evasión de impuestos en grado de tentativa no es delito, otra cosa es la cuestión política en la que no entramos”, en alusión al escándalo generado en Marbella tras conocerse la operación de Luxemburgo.

Por si quedaba alguna duda sobre si la sociedad de la alcaldesa, ella o su marido tienen alguna cuenta bancaria en Luxemburgo Flores ha confirmado que “la tienen que tener, porque va asociada al producto que se ha contratado y allí se depositan los 3,1 millones de euros”. No obstante, ha concretado que “en torno al diez por ciento, unos 200.000 euros” del monto total, habrían sido entregados a los subscritores de la inversión.

Basándose en la publicidad que ofertaba Nordea Bank SA, denunciada ante la Agencia Tributaria española, el abogado ha descrito el proceder de la sociedad de Muñoz: “Crasel Panorámica contrata ese producto para reducir el valor de la vivienda, y para invertir el capital en Luxemburgo, como el banco lo tiene previsto”. Según los folletos que Flores ha mostrado “todo se ofertaba para reducir el impuesto de sucesiones en España”, ha insistido.

Así pues, una vez que la alcaldesa ha negado ser víctima del banco luxemburgués, al contrario que los clientes de Flores, el letrado ha dicho que no tiene “nada” de qué retractarse. Todo después de que la primera edil marbellí le instara a hacerlo a través de un requerimiento notarial.

Muñoz emprendió dichas acciones a raíz de las declaraciones que el letrado hizo a eldiario.es el pasado 2 de marzo en las que destapó la operación financiera de Crasel Panorámica S.L. en el citado paraíso fiscal. Previamente, Flores había informado de ello en la página web de los afectados por prácticas irregulares de Nordea Bank, representados por su bufete.

“No tengo por qué rectificar, cuando la propia alcaldesa declaró a eldiario.es que ella tiene un seguro de vida precisamente para poder hacer frente al impuesto de sucesiones”. De hecho, Muñoz insistió el pasado 2 de marzo, cuando este medio recabó su versión, en que “desgraciadamente, en Andalucía, mientras sigan gobernando los socialistas tendremos que tener un seguro de vida para hacer frente al impuesto de sucesiones”.

Al ser preguntado por la denuncia que ha interpuesto la regidora contra él, ante el Colegio de Abogados de Málaga, Flores ha respondido que “es una manera sucia de empañar la imagen de un abogado”. Argumenta que Ángeles Muñoz no ha acudido a los tribunales “porque una querella causa revuelo y hay que sacar muchos papeles”. Además, ha animado a la también presidenta de la FAMP a dar explicaciones públicamente en lugar de denunciarle.

Flores plantea dudas sobre el origen del patrimonio de la alcaldesa

Antonio Flores, que ha calificado de “operación de ingeniería financiera” la actuación llevada a cabo por la sociedad de la alcaldesa en Luxemburgo, sostiene que la situación de la munícipe del PP “no es aceptable para un cargo público”. Sobre todo-ha añadido- “cuando su vivienda particular (la mansión) tiene por el sur un préstamo hipotecario con Luxemburgo y al norte una sociedad gibraltareña”, en alusión a  la offshore Crasel Limited, mercantil a la que el matrimonio compró los 90.000 euros del capital social que tenía en Crasel Panorámica S.L.

Al hilo del argumento de la regidora sobre que ella tiene régimen de separación de bienes con su cónyuge, a Flores le sorprende que Ángeles Muñoz “tenga un patrimonio de cerca de 3,5 millones de euros, la mayoría del cual no está gravado con ninguna hipoteca, con los ingresos que ha podido declarar”.

A Muñoz “no se le conoce una actividad profesional o mercantil para tener ese patrimonio tan abultado. Tiene un sueldo relativamente alto pero no puede cubrir ciertos desembolsos que ha hecho”, esgrime el responsable de Lawbird.

En su declaración municipal de bienes, hecha en  junio de 2011, la regidora declaró 7.500 euros brutos mensuales como primera edil. Entre 2007 y 2011 cobró 55.742 euros brutos anuales como parlamentaria andaluza por Málaga.

“Si ocurre como dice la alcaldesa, que recibe trasvases de patrimonio de su marido, ella ha tenido que declararlo en el impuesto de donaciones, puesto que ambos están vivos, la realidad es que no se ha hecho así”, denuncia Flores.

Flores ha recordado, tal y como informó eldiario.es, que Muñoz adquirió la finca en la que se halla su mansión “a través de la compra venta de participaciones de una sociedad de Gibraltar”. En este punto sostiene lo siguiente: “sospechamos que se realizó por el valor del capital social, que fueron 90.000 euros”.

Si las obras de la mansión se hicieron una vez comprado el terreno “el sueldo de la alcaldesa no daba como para poder cubrir un desembolso de cerca de 2 millones de euros”, ha concluido el letrado.

Story by J. C. A. | Marbella 24 Horas

El abogado Antonio Flores, esta mañana en rueda de prensa.

El abogado Antonio Flores, que destapó las operaciones en Luxemburgo de Ángeles Muñoz, ha puesto esta mañana a la alcaldesa de Marbella contra las cuerdas a nivel político. En una larga rueda de prensa ha dicho que la regidora “compró un producto para no pagar impuestos”, que le podría suponer un ahorro del 34% en el impuesto de sucesiones. También la ha acusado de tener “incompleta” su declaración de bienes como cargo público y de “faltar a la verdad”.

Antonio Flores Vila, del bufete Lawbird Legal Services SL de Marbella, fue quien destapó, a través de las investigaciones que realizaba para una asociación de afectados por Nordea Bank S.A., las operaciones de la alcaldesa de Marbella en Luxembugo, que salieron a la luz pública a través de “Eldiario.es”.
Esta mañana, en una rueda de prensa de casi una hora, ha puesto contra las cuerdas a nivel político a la alcaldesa de Marbella. El letrado ha asegurado que Ángeles Muñoz “compró un producto para no pagar impuestos porque así lo refleja la publicidad de este banco”.
“No la acusamos de defraudar al fisco, algo que no se haría hasta que hubiese un fallecimiento y la evasión de impuestos en grado de tentativa no es un delito”, dijo, y añadió que la parcela en la que debe ofrecer explicaciones es en la “política”.
Flores sostiene que esta situación “no es aceptable para un cargo público”, sobre todo cuando su vivienda particular tiene “por el norte un préstamo hipotecario en un paraíso fiscal (Luxemburgo) y por el sur una sociedad gibraltareña, que es otro paraíso fiscal”.
El abogado ha centrado su rueda de prensa en explicar tres aspectos fundamentales. Por un lado, el producto que ha adquirido la alcaldesa en Luxemburgo, por otro que su declaración de bienes está incompleta y “no refleja la realidad”, y como último en defenderse de la denuncia que ha hecho el Ayuntamiento ante el Colegio de Abogados.
Respecto al primer asunto, ha considerado necesaria esta rueda de prensa para “desmentir” las afirmaciones de la alcaldesa sobre sus operaciones en Luxemburgo. “No son verdaderas, las explica de una forma sesgada y nadie termina de aclarar qué sucede”, ha dicho.
Según ha explicado, Nordea Bank S.A. es una entidad de Luxemburgo, que tiene una oficina de representación en Marbella y que se dedica a la planificación fiscal internacional. “Su objetivo es ayudar a la gente, de forma más o menos legal, a que tenga que pagar menos impuestos”, ha dicho.
“En España ofrecen un producto que, según dicen ellos en su publicidad, era para evitar legalmente el impuesto de sucesiones y de patrimonio, aunque esto no es cierto”, dijo.
Explicó que su bufete había planteado un pleito contra esta entidad por “publicidad engañosa” porque induce a la gente a pensar que “puede defraudar al fisco”.
Desde la asociación de afectados por Nordea Bank, según ha dicho, se solicitó a la Agencia Tributaria información sobre este producto y la respuesta fue que “utilizarlo para no pagar impuestos suponía una infracción tributaria”.
Antonio Flores ha explicado en qué consiste el producto contratado por la alcaldesa en Luxemburgo, como han hecho otros clientes de este banco. Ha relatado que consta de tres elementos: “una vivienda en España sin cargas, una hipoteca que te da el banco y una póliza de seguros de vida que está asociada a una cartera de inversiones”.
El letrado ha señalado que es “falso” que la póliza de seguros sea obligatoria porque hay una hipoteca, ya que existe “una prima única que se pagó al comienzo” y que en el caso de la regidora fue de 3,1 millones de euros. “Ese dinero, quizá un poco menos por los gastos, se queda en Luxemburgo”, sostuvo.
Según sostuvo, el banco anuncia que este producto funciona por dos motivos. “Porque dicen que la casa ya no vale 4,7 millones porque tiene una carga de 3,1 millones, y que en Luxemburgo se puede heredar ese dinero sin pagar impuestos, pero ambas afirmaciones son falsas”.
“Un préstamo hipotecario no sirve para reducir impuestos, si es para comprar la vivienda sí, pero no para sacar una hipoteca y guardarla en Luxemburgo y hablar de que tiene una carga”, explicó.
Por tanto, el letrado considera que no debe hacer ninguna rectificación, como le ha solicitado la alcaldesa, y recordó que la propia regidora confirmó en “Eldiario.es” el motivo de su inversión cuando dijo, textualmente, que “yo tengo un seguro de vida precisamente para poder hacer frente al impuesto de sucesiones. Desgraciadamente en Andalucía mientras sigan gobernando los socialistas tendremos que tener un seguro de vida para hacer frente al impuesto de sucesiones”.
“Es un producto que la sociedad Crasel Panorámica, de la que la alcaldesa tiene el 50%, contrata para reducir el valor de la vivienda, invertir el capital en Luxemburgo y, según la publicidad, reducir el impuesto”, concluyó.
Declaración de bienes
En la segunda parte de su rueda de prensa, sostuvo que la declaración de bienes de la alcaldesa como cargo público está “incompleta” y añadió que “no es cierto que todo esté declarado en ella”.
Flores señaló que, utilizando las notas simples de las viviendas que están a nombre de Ángeles Muñoz o de sociedades de las que es copropietaria, aparecen ocho fincas registrales, cuatro a su nombre y el resto al de las empresas en las que participa al 50%.
En su declaración de bienes “no figura la póliza de seguros, ni el crédito hipotecario, y faltan algunos bienes como una vivienda en Monachil (Granada) y otra en La Quinta Hills”.
Consideró que este documento, que se puede consultar en la web del Ayuntamiento, está “sesgado, no sé si de forma malintencionada, pero no es veraz”.
“Esto es algo que tiene que divulgar ella, pero como considera que nosotros la injuriamos, hemos decidido relacionar lo que ella declara con la verdad”, dijo.
“No somos políticos, ella decidirá si pone al día esta declaración o la completa”, señaló, y añadió que, además, es de “muy difícil interpretación”.
“Pone que tiene participaciones por valor de 44.000 euros en una sociedad que tiene detrás una mansión de 4,7 millones, entonces se la compramos, no refleja la realidad”, sostuvo.
Flores fue más allá y dijo que a la alcaldesa “no se le conoce una actividad mercantil”, por lo que “llama la atención que tenga un patrimonio tan abultado”.Además, considera que, si lo relaciona con el de su marido, al existir separación de bienes, “si hubiese recibido trasvases del patrimonio de su cónyuge tendría que declararlo en el impuesto de donaciones, y no es así”.

“Tiene un sueldo relativamente alto, pero no puede cubrir ciertos desembolsos que ha hecho, esto debería aclararlo, no es aceptable que diga que es su vida privada cuando además utiliza los servicios jurídicos del Ayuntamiento para denunciarnos”, dijo.
Denuncia Colegio de Abogados
Los servicios jurídicos del Ayuntamiento han denunciado a Antonio Flores ante el Colegio de Abogados de Málaga por “injurias o calumnias” sobre las inversiones de la alcaldesa en Luxemburgo. Flores considera que “hemos tropezado con este asunto, lo hemos remitido a un medio de comunicación y a partir de ahí ha surgido todo”.
“El Colegio no tiene competencia contra nosotros porque es una cuestión entre dos partes privadas, la alcaldesa no es clienta y no tenemos relación jurídica, por tanto no hay contenido deontológico”, declaró.
Preguntado sobre por qué la alcaldesa no ha acudido a los tribunales, ha dicho que una querella “causa revuelo y hay que sacar muchos papeles”, por lo que han optado por una “manera sucia de empañar la imagen de un abogado”.
The Olive Press

Mayor of Marbella sues top lawyer over alleged undeclared assetsTHE mayor of Marbella is suing a well known lawyer over claims that she improperly declared her investments abroad.

Maria Angeles is suing Antonio Flores, of Lawbird, after he spoke to the press regarding her alleged failure to declare that she and her expat husband Lars Broberg took out a €3.1 million equity release mortgage with Swiss bank Nordea in 2010.

Muñoz has accused the brief of ‘professional misconduct’, claiming he was the main source in recent media reports concerning her allegedly undeclared assets.

As well as investments in Luxembourg, Munoz and Swede Broberg allegedly bought a 98% share in Gibraltarian company Crasel Limited, in 2003.

The town hall has reported the lawyer, who has a column with the Olive Press, to the Law Society, meaning the case will not go to court.

Spokesman for the town hall, Felix Romero claimed Flores ‘went against professional ethics by giving insulting statements to the press, and distributing them across the internet’.

Flores insisted: “I have not been disrespectful towards her. I only said that she had either deliberately not declared her investments, or that she was a victim of the bank, like many others. I never made any indication which.”

Concerns were first raised about Munoz’s foreign dealings by a group established by Antonio Flores, called the Equity Release Victims Association (ERVA), made up of expats who have lost millions of euros through the bank.

The lawyer has filed a complaint with the Tax Office on behalf of ERVA’s members, affected by investments with Nordea Bank.

Mr Flores will give a press conference on Thursday to discuss the allegations made against him.

Story by ENCARNA JEREZ | Malaga Hoy

Nordea-Bank-EntradaCiudadanos extranjeros se han agrupado en una plataforma para denunciar un producto financiero de planificación fiscal presuntamente fraudulenta que se está vendiendo en todo el país. Concretamente, sólo en el municipio de Marbella, hay entre 30 y 40 afectados con un capital invertido en este producto que ronda la cifra de los 44 millones de euros.

Según explica el abogado Antonio Flores, que representa a los afectados por la gestión realizada por Nordea Bank, se trata de un producto que ofrece una “planificación fiscal fraudulenta. La entidad”, continúa, “garantizaba, de manera legal, una forma de reducir el pago del impuesto de sucesiones sobre sus propiedades”, según explica el letrado, quién señala que el banco ofrece a sus clientes la posibilidad de firmar un préstamo hipotecario sobre viviendas ya pagadas al objeto de reducir el valor del inmueble y por consiguiente la cantidad a pagar en concepto de impuesto de sucesiones por parte de sus herederos en el caso de que el titular fallezca.

A pesar de lo abultada de la cifra de capital invertido, 44 millones, no son muchos los afectados en Marbella porque, según explica el abogado “en todos los casos se trata de hipotecas suscritas por cantidades muy elevadas”.

Una vez cerrado el préstamo en cuestión, según Flores, el dinero nunca ha llegado a estar en manos de los clientes, si no que era gestionado por el banco que invertía y negociaba con él garantizando a los propietarios de las viviendas sobre los que pesa el préstamo que el mismo se irá liquidando con cargo a los intereses generados por el dinero que la entidad tienen en su poder.

“Lo que sucede”, según explica Flores, “es que los bancos han invertido mal y han perdido el dinero, por lo que ahora piden a sus clientes que hagan frente a la hipoteca o de lo contrario podrían perder sus casas”.

Es decir, un producto que en principio no generaba ninguna deuda y cuyo objetivo era simplemente garantizar un beneficio para el cliente y una reducción fiscal, se ha vuelto ahora en contra de sus dueños que, a su vez, podrían llegar a estar incurriendo en un delito fiscal en el momento en el que tuvieran que pagar el impuesto de sucesiones ya que estarían evadiendo cantidades a la hacienda española.

A esto se suma el hecho de que la mayoría de las personas que han suscrito este tipo de hipotecas “son ciudadanos extranjeros desconocedores de las leyes españolas y que por lo tanto se han fiado de un producto bancario que garantizaba una operación legal avalada por varias consultoras internacionales que, según las investigaciones realizadas, nunca dieron el visto bueno a este tipo de producto a pesar de la publicidad que el banco hizo del producto”.

Ahora los afectados luchan por conseguir la nulidad del contrato que firmaron en el momento en el que rubricaron la hipoteca al considerar que han sido engañados por un banco que les vendía como legal “un producto que fomenta un delito fiscal en España”.

De momento ya se han interpuesto varias denuncias por la vía penal por publicidad engañosa al entender que los clientes han sido víctimas “y no colaboradoras de un posible delito fiscal”.

La división de banca privada de Nordea Bank, a preguntas de este periódico, ha asegurado que la entidad “ha tenido buenas relaciones con sus clientes desde hace más de 30 años en España fuertemente opuestas a las alegaciones realizadas” a lo que han añadido que no tienen más comentarios que hacer ante las informaciones vertidas por parte de la representación legal de los denunciantes.

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.