How I lost £1.5m in a fraudulent inheritance tax avoidance scheme

Story by Katie Morley | The Telegraph
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Barry Gill, a British expat who has retired in Spain, claims to have lost more than £1m as a result of failed investments and a “scam” equity release scheme he undertook following advice from a firm which was not regulated to give financial advice.

Mr Gill alleges that he was advised to take out a £900,000 mortgage on a £1m Spanish villa he owned outright.

He said David Driver, OIB’s managing director, had told this would help him reduce his inheritance tax bill.

However, it has since emerged that the Spanish government views such arrangements as fraudulent.

Antonio Flores, a lawyer at Lawbird in Spain, who is now representing Mr Gill among a number of other OIB customers who are looking to pursue legal action against it, said: “OIB was operating illegally and was not registered to provide advice. Clients bought into speculative schemes to alleviate inheritance tax but many people have ended up losing their homes.

“There has been a lot of unregulated financial advice going on along the coast here and a lot of British people have lost a lot of money.”

Mr Driver, who arranged the IHT avoidance scheme for Mr Gill and others, returned to Britain in 2012. Today he appears to be back in business running a financial firm called Jorvik Investment Services, based in York, which sells regulated investments to financial advisers.

According to its website, the firm “will only entertain investments that offer the comfort and security that comes from being properly regulated”.

However, according to the register of authorised firms and individuals held by the FCA, neither Mr Driver nor Jorvik is regulated.

Mr Driver declined to comment on the matter.

Have you been the victim of a scam, or a rogue adviser, or have you seen anything suspicious? Email: katiedotmorleyattelegraphdotcodotuk

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