Clouds over the Costa del Sol

January 14th, 2012
Story by JULIE Hornbek TOFT AND PETER Nyholm | Finans Watch

Rich retirees have lost millions to invest through Danish banks on the Suncoast. We have been duped, they believe bank customers that Jyllands-Posten have met in Marbella. They have lost fortunes after the meeting with the crisis, local financial cowboys and Sydbank.

MARBELLA, SPAIN – Three times a week does she clean for some Britons in a house with nine guest rooms.

It was not like that, 61-year-old Mary Mould had planned his retirement on the coast. The plan was to sit back with their spouse here near Marbella.Sunburnt at the edge of the pool in a dream house, ready for the children visiting from England with additional bedrooms, four marble bathrooms, walk-in closet and everything else. But the house that Mary and her husband bought in 2002, they can not afford to live longer.

Mary Mould closes its off-white cardigan closer around him. The apartment, she and husband Eric today borrows from some friends, this is cool January day.

“I work so hard. Just think … And we lived in such a beautiful house. Oh dear, what should be one of us? “Since investment in Sydbank started to go bad, and the British couple had to move from their house, she woke up at five o’clock every morning, she says.

Eric Mould, 63, is more restrained. His extremely sunburned face is completely calm about the white shirt collar. And he is angry, because the couple has lost approx. 3 million. £ to invest through Sydbank Switzerland.

“The people from Sydbank has been inept. They talked only about making money, not about losing. They have been saying, “We’ve mastered it.” But our economy is desperate, “he said.
Lost life savings

The pair are among the many foreign retirees who mortgaged their one million houses to prevent the Spanish inheritance tax and make money by investing through Danish banks in Switzerland or Luxembourg. Since then, investment and housing prices plummeted, while debt has remained the same. And now they sit back with a house which they rent out to pay interest on a millionlån.

The story we hear often here in Marbella, where rich solpensionister flock, and where the main street is filled with banks and law firms.

It is the story of pensioners who lost their life savings because they were persuaded by the customer hungry banks to borrow against their house up the chimney and put the money in risky investments, they did not understand.

Or it is the story of rich, tax frightened pensioners who saw the opportunity to earn smart money bet and now the pipes, because they – like many other investors around the world – with smoke when the bottom went out of business in 2008.

Bank Customers’ lawyer oxen to get a case to court and trap banks for fraud and deceptive marketing, said the first. Banks will probably think the last one, but suffice to say that they have not broken any rules.

Financial cowboy

Eric and Mary Mould bought the house 200 meters from the beach in Puerto Banus – a high class marina a few miles west of Marbella, surrounded by golf courses – to 6.75 million. £ They were paid in cash.

They moved down here permanently a few years later, when Eric Mould quit his job as Marketing Manager in Essex. Back then they needed cash and wanted to pull some equity out of the house. In addition they would like to avoid Spanish inheritance tax on the house, in case you should happen them anything. And then they heard through some friends about David Driver.

David Driver has no desire to participate in this article, but his client says he is a tall man, who previously worked as a police officer in England. Here in Marbella, he works as a financial advisor in two-man firm Offshore Investment Brokers (OIB). Or Financial cowboy, as some say, because neither he nor the company has any authority to advise on the economy. The OIB brochure that Eric and Mary got in his hand, he advertises for a product that can “free up capital in your house.” It consists of an interest-only loans in housing equity withdrawal, which then put in a “secure, custom-designed and regulated portfolio; () structured to cover the loan repayment, income and expenses.” Moreover, says that the scheme may cut up to 100 per cent. of inheritance tax on property.

“Now you must not be silly”

David Driver was then hired by Sydbank Switzerland to find customers in its “target audience” in Spain and send them on. The employment contract states that the driver was paid when Sydbank ended a deal with a customer. It also says that the driver was not allowed to advise or explain the bank’s products, it should Sydbank do.

But it does not say how Driver then have to explain potential customers what Sydbank had to offer.

David Driver set up a meeting with Sydbank for Mould-mated in January 2007, they say. Eric Mould remember that the three Sydbankmedarbejdere who flew over from the branch in Switzerland, presented an investment product, Peerless Stable, which was expected to yield a return of 7 per cent. a year and where 75 per cent. the money was completely safe, while the rest were “low risk”. Sydbank later in a letter to Eric Mould denied that they have had or presented in such a product. In the sales material, the bank has designed a specified portfolio of proposals. Indicated a percentage risk by 30 percent. on investment.

The rest says nothing about. The prospectus for Peerless Stable described the risk as “medium”.

Mary remembers that she asked the three if their house would be at risk.

“They laughed and said,” No, you must not be silly, Mrs.. Mould. It’s not even talk about, ‘”she says. A guarantee that Sydbank in the same letter denies having given.

After two or three weeks had Eric and Mary Mould signed a loan from Nykredit of 8.7 million. £ It was 80 percent. of the building’s assessed value.Of those, they had to pull about 20 per cent. -Ie approx. 1.7 million. kr-out.After costs and fees were approx. 6.6 million. DKK invested in Sydbank Peerless Stable.

The couple never saw a return.

The kids do not know

Somewhat the same story telling Mr. and Mrs.. Smith, a British couple who will not have their names in the newspaper. The difference is that Smith-couple’s villa was more expensive, so they borrowed 10.5 million. million and invested the 8 million. million in February 2007. And then there’s also the difference that the couple – against Sydbank Switzerland’s own principles – not met the bank’s staff, before they signed the contracts.

All material they got from David Driver and Nykredit, they say.

The couple’s 400 square meter-large villa climbs up a hillside between Malaga and Marbella.
From all the house’s rooms and two pools, one can look out over the valley, the Mediterranean and in clear weather charts Africa out there. They do not live in the house now, but rents it out to pay interest on the loan. Mr. Smith has run up here in his SUV to show the Jyllands-Posten around. He is mid 60’s, has a narrow, tanned face and is wearing light jeans and cowboy boots. They bought the house in cash in 2005 when he quit his job in direct marketing.

They have even added the gym under the garage and pool number two, he explains on the tour, where he also asks me not to mention their first names.

“For the sake of our children, you understand. They do not know, “is the explanation.


Mr. Smith has been monitoring the investments, interest rates and debt.Letters from Sydbank and Nykredit are arranged in thick binders.

After 10 months they had lost approx. 640,000 kroner on Peerless Stable, he shows. And the portfolio has been in freefall since. Along the way, Smith-pair met several times with Sydbank Switzerland at a nearby hotel. The couple have tried various rescue operations.

Some suggestions came from David Driver, the unauthorized broker who sold them the product. Not because they trusted him, but because they were desperate, says the couple, who also entrusted Drivers offshore their company pension schemes.

Driver suggested them at a time to gear their remaining investments in order to obtain any return. A risky rate Sydbank refused. Shortly after, Driver fired Sydbank. Both Mould-paired and Smith believe it is because he warned people about investment loans. In the letter of termination from 2008 justifying Sydbank firing that David Driver and his colleague has advised customers to replace Sydbank products with other products.

Bond Caught

Back on the Smith account of Sydbank Switzerland is nearly 4.9 million.million, estimates Mr. Smith then an initial loss of £3.1 million.

Eric and Mary Mould expect that their investment account today, about 3 million. AUD worth – that is a loss of 3.6 million. £ Both couples say they can not sell their houses at a price that will cover the debt.

“We feel ripped off because it seemed like a no-brainer. Banks have speculated that exploit our trust. They have let David Driver sell the product to us and then backed it up with their names. We relied on the Danish banks. The only right is that the banks let the trades go back, “says Mr. Smith.

New hope with Antonio

Bank customers now have fastened their hopes on Antonio Flores, a young, closely cropped lawyer in Marbella, who tells them that what happened is illegal. The banks have defrauded and misled. And customers have a chance to win their money back. He is working on “no cure, no pay” basis and get 10 per cent. of everything he gets home to his clients. For more than a year he has worked hard to attract burned bank customers: blogged, written articles and been interviewed. Mary Mould heard him on the radio while she cleaned. She hurried to write down the number and got Eric to call him.

“He gives us hope. He is so positive, do not you think?, “She says.

So far, Flores received just over 40 bank customers into its fold. They come primarily from Danish banks and their history, he says, hardly distinguishable Sydbank / Nykredit customers.
So far he has not had luck with the case which has been rejected by two Spanish courts. But he claws on.

Sydbank have had the article to gennemlæsning.Banken did not want to comment on the content, but reserves the right to defend itself.

FACTS: Equity Release Package

  • Basically it’s about to invest money that you borrow in his house.
  • The Bank shall, via brokers, clients paid houses.
  • Nykredit belåner property in Spain (or France).
  • The money goes straight into Sydbank Switzerland, issuing guarantees to Nykredit in 25 -30 per cent. of loan principal.
  • The customer may want. get an overdraft of more than 20 per cent. of mortgage loan principal.
  • In Spain the inheritance tax is levied only by equity in real estate package therefore serves primarily the purpose of pulling money out of the house and into a Swiss bank.
  • Additionally hoped on that investment yielded more than the mortgage cost.

FACTS: The case in brief 

  • Jyllands-Posten has revealed that Sydbank subsidiary in Switzerland actively helped clients evade taxes in overseas.
  • Via Nykredit was possible customers in particular. a Spain offered a package that consisted of a loan in the equity in their luxury housing, which were invested through Sydbank Switzerland.
  • The model was bl. a marketed as a way to hide the values ​​of the Spanish tax authorities and a way to earn extra money.
  • This occurred despite the fact that Sydbank had Spanish banking license.
  • Several clients have lost millions on the product.
  • Also other Danish banks have been involved in similar models.
Original Article in Danish Below

Skyer over Solkysten

Offentliggjort 14.01.12 kl. 09:45

Rige pensionister har tabt millioner på at investere gennem danske banker på Solkysten. Vi er blevet taget ved næsen, mener de bankkunder, som Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten har mødt i Marbella. De har mistet formuer efter mødet med krisen, lokale finansielle cowboys og Sydbank.


MARBELLA, SPANIEN – Tre gange om ugen gør hun rent for nogle briter i en villa med ni gæsteværelser.

Det var ikke lige sådan, 61-årige Mary Mould havde planlagt sit otium på Solkysten. Planen var at læne sig tilbage sammen med ægtefællen her nær Marbella. Solbrændt ved kanten af poolen i drømmehuset, klar til børnenes besøg fra England med ekstra soveværelser, fire marmorbadeværelser, walk-in-closet og alt det andet. Men huset, som Mary og hendes mand købte i 2002, har de ikke råd til at bo længere.

Mary Mould lukker sin råhvide cardigan tættere om sig. Lejligheden, hun og mand Eric i dag låner af nogle venner, er kølig denne januardag.

»Jeg arbejder så hårdt. Tænk bare… Og vi boede i sådan et smukt hus. Oh dear, hvad skal der ikke blive af os?« Siden investeringerne i Sydbank begyndte at gå dårligt, og det britiske par måtte flytte fra deres hus, er hun vågnet klokken fem hver morgen, fortæller hun.

Eric Mould, 63, er mere behersket. Hans ekstremt solbrændte ansigt er helt roligt over den hvide skjortekrave. Og så er han vred, for parret har tabt ca. 3 mio. kr. på at investere gennem Sydbank Schweiz.

»Folkene fra Sydbank har været uduelige. De talte kun om at tjene penge -ikke om at tabe. De er blevet ved med at sige, “Vi har styr på det”. Men vores økonomi er desperat,« siger han.

Tabte livsopsparinger

Parret er blandt de mange udenlandske pensionister, der belånte deres millionvillaer for at undgå den spanske arveskat og tjene penge på at investere gennem danske banker i Schweiz eller Luxembourg. Siden er investeringerne og huspriserne raslet ned, mens gælden er forblevet den samme. Og nu sidder de tilbage med et hus, som de lejer ud for at kunne betale renterne på et millionlån.

Den historie hører man ofte hernede i Marbella, hvor rige solpensionister flokkes, og hvor hovedgaden er fyldt med banker og advokatkontorer.

Det er historien om pensionister, der har mistet deres livsopsparing, fordi de blev overtalt af kundesultne banker til at belåne deres hus op til skorstenen og sætte pengene i risikable investeringer, de ikke havde forstand på.

Eller det er historien om rige, skatteforskrækkede pensionister, der øjnede muligheden for at tjene smarte penge, satsede og nu piber, fordi de – lige som mange andre investorer verden over – røg med, da bunden gik ud af markedet i 2008.

Bankkundernes advokat, der okser for at få en sag for en domstol og fælde bankerne for snyd og vildledende markedsføring, mener det første. Bankerne vil nok mene det sidste, men de nøjes med at sige, at de ikke har brudt nogen regler.

Finansiel cowboy

Eric og Mary Mould købte huset 200 meter fra vandet i Puerto Banus – en high class marina nogle kilometer vest for Marbella omgivet af golfbaner – for 6,75 mio. kr. De blev betalt kontant.

De flyttede herned permanent et par år senere, da Eric Mould kvittede jobbet som marketingschef i Essex. Dengang havde de brug for kontanter og ville gerne trække lidt friværdi ud af huset. Desuden ville de gerne undgå den spanske arveafgift på huset, hvis nu der skulle ske dem noget. Og så hørte de gennem nogle venner om David Driver.

David Driver har ikke ønsket at deltage i denne artikel, men hans klienter fortæller, at han er en høj mand, der tidligere arbejdede som politibetjent i England. Her i Marbella arbejder han som finansiel rådgiver i tomands-firmaet Offshore Investment Brokers (OIB). Eller financial cowboy, som nogen siger, for hverken han eller virksomheden har nogen form for autorisation til at rådgive om økonomi. I OIB’s brochure, som Eric og Mary fik i hånden, reklamerer han for et produkt, der kan “frigøre formuen i dit hus”. Det består af et afdragsfrit lån i husets friværdi, som så sættes i en “sikker, specialdesignet og reguleret portefølje; () struktureret til at dække tilbagebetaling af lånet, indkomst og omkostninger.” Desuden, står der, kan ordningen skære op til 100 pct. af arveafgiften på ejendommen.

»Nu må De ikke være fjollet«

David Driver var på det tidspunkt hyret af Sydbank Schweiz til at finde kunder i bankens “målgruppe” i Spanien og sende dem videre. I ansættelseskontrakten står der, at Driver blev betalt, når Sydbank sluttede en handel med en kunde. Der står også, at Driver ikke måtte rådgive eller forklare om bankens produkter, det skulle Sydbank selv gøre.

Men der står ikke, hvordan Driver så skulle forklare mulige kunder, hvad Sydbank havde at tilbyde.

David Driver satte et møde op med Sydbank for Mould-parret i januar 2007, siger de. Eric Mould husker, at de tre Sydbankmedarbejdere, der fløj over fra filialen i Schweiz, præsenterede et investeringsprodukt, Peerless Stable, der forventedes at give et afkast på 7 pct. om året, og hvor 75 pct. af pengene var helt sikre, mens resten var “lav risiko”. Sydbank har senere i et brev til Eric Mould afvist, at de har haft eller præsenteret sådan et produkt. I det salgsmateriale, banken selv har udformet, er et udspecificeret porteføljeforslag. Der er anført en procentuel risiko ved 30 pct. af investeringerne.

Resten står der ikke noget om. I prospektet for Peerless Stable betegnes risikoen som “medium”.

Mary husker, at hun spurgte de tre, om deres hus ville være i farezonen.

»De grinede og sagde, “Nej, nu må De ikke være fjollet, Mrs. Mould. Det er der slet ikke tale om”,« siger hun. En garanti, som Sydbank i samme brev afviser at have givet.

Efter to-tre uger havde Eric og Mary Mould underskrevet et lån hos Nykredit på 8,7 mio. kr. Det var 80 pct. af husets vurderede værdi. Af dem måtte de trække omkring 20 pct. -altså ca. 1,7 mio. kr. -ud. Efter omkostninger og gebyrer blev ca. 6,6 mio. kr. investeret i Sydbanks Peerless Stable.

Parret så aldrig et afkast.

Børnene ved det ikke

Nogenlunde samme historie fortæller Mr. og Mrs. Smith, et britisk par, der ikke vil havde deres fornavne i avisen. Forskellen er bare, at Smith-parrets villa var dyrere, så de lånte 10,5 mio. kr. og investerede de 8 mio. kr. i februar 2007. Og så er der også den forskel, at parret – stik imod Sydbank Schweiz’ egne principper – slet ikke mødte bankens personale, før de underskrev kontrakterne.

Alt materiale fik de fra David Driver og Nykredit, siger de.

Parrets 400 kvm-store villa klatrer op ad en bjergskråning mellem Malaga og Marbella.

Fra alle husets værelser og de to pools kan man se ud over dalen, Middelhavet og i klart vejr ane Afrika derude. De bor ikke i huset nu, men lejer det ud for at betale renter på lånet. Mr. Smith er kørt herop i sin firhjulstrækker for at vise Jyllands-Posten rundt. Han er midt i 60′ erne, har et smalt, solbrændt ansigt og er iført lyse jeans og cowboy-støvler. De købte huset kontant i 2005, da han kvittede sit job i direct marketing.

De har selv tilføjet fitnessrummet under garagen og pool nummer to, forklarer han på turen, hvor han også beder mig om ikke at nævne deres fornavne.

»Af hensyn til vores børn, forstår du. De ved det ikke,« er forklaringen.


Mr. Smith har holdt øje med investeringerne, renterne og gælden. Breve fra Sydbank og Nykredit er ordnet i tykke ringbind.

Efter 10 måneder havde de tabt ca. 640.000 kr. på Peerless Stable, viser han. Og porteføljen har været i frit fald siden. Undervejs har Smith-parret holdt flere møder med Sydbank Schweiz på et nærliggende hotel. Parret har prøvet forskellige redningsaktioner.

Nogle forslag kom fra David Driver, den uautoriserede mægler der solgte dem produktet. Ikke fordi de stolede på ham, men fordi de var desperate, forklarer parret, der i øvrigt også har betroet Drivers offshore-firma deres pensionsordninger.

Driver foreslog dem på et tidspunkt at geare deres tilbageværende investeringer for at indhente noget afkast. Et risikabelt sats, som Sydbank afslog. Kort efter blev Driver fyret af Sydbank. Både Mould-parret og Smith mener, at det er fordi, at han advarede folk om investeringslånene. I opsigelsesbrevet fra 2008 begrunder Sydbank fyringen med, at David Driver og hans kollega har rådet kunder til at erstatte Sydbank-produkter med andre produkter.


Tilbage på Smith-kontoen i Sydbank Schweiz er knap 4,9 mio. kr., anslår Mr. Smith -altså et foreløbigt tab på 3,1 mio. kr.

Eric og Mary Mould regner med, at deres investeringskonto i dag er omkring 3 mio. kr. værd – altså et tab på 3,6 mio. kr. Begge par siger, at de ikke kan sælge deres huse til en pris, der vil dække gælden.

»Vi føler os bondefanget, for det virkede som en no-brainer. Bankerne har spekuleret i at udnytte vores tillid. De har ladet David Driver sælge produktet til os og så bakket det op med deres navn. Vi stolede jo på danske banker. Det eneste rigtige er, at bankerne lader handlerne gå tilbage,« siger Mr. Smith.

Nyt håb med Antonio

Bankkunderne har nu fæstet deres lid til Antonio Flores, en ung, tætklippet advokat i Marbella, der fortæller dem, at det, der er sket, er ulovligt. At bankerne har svindlet og vildledt. Og at kunderne har en chance for at vinde deres penge tilbage. Han arbejder på “no cure, no pay”-basis og får 10 pct. af alt, hvad han henter hjem til sine klienter. I mere end et år har han knoklet for at tiltrække brændte bankkunder: blogget, skrevet artikler og ladet sig interviewe. Mary Mould hørte ham i radioen, mens hun gjorde rent. Hun skyndte sig at skrive nummeret ned og fik Eric til at ringe til ham.

»Han giver os håb. Han er så positiv, synes du ikke?,« siger hun.

Indtil videre har Flores fået godt 40 bankkunder i sin fold. De kommer primært fra danske banker, og deres historie, siger han, ligner til forveksling Sydbank/ Nykreditkundernes.

Indtil videre har han dog ikke haft held med sagen, der er blevet afvist af to spanske retsinstanser. Men han klør på.

Sydbank har haft artiklen til gennemlæsning.Banken har ikke ønsket at kommentere indholdet, men forbeholder sig ret til at tage til genmæle.


Spansk advokat jagter danske banker

Juristen, der forelskede sig i pengene

Sydbank venter erstatninger til Solkysten-kunder 





Equity Release Package


Grundlæggende handler det om at investere for penge, man låner i sit hus.

Banken finder, via mæglere, kunder med udbetalte huse.

Nykredit belåner ejendom i Spanien (eller Frankrig).

Pengene ryger direkte over i Sydbank Schweiz, som udsteder garanti til Nykredit på 25 -30 pct. af lånets hovedstol.

Kunden kan evt. få en kassekredit på maks. 20 pct. af realkreditlånets hovedstol.

I Spanien svares kun arveafgift af friværdien i fast ejendom, pakken tjener altså først og fremmest det formål at trække penge ud af huset og over i en Schweizisk bank.

Derudover håbes der på, at investeringerne afkaster mere, end hvad realkreditlånet koster.





Sagen kort


Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten har afsløret, at Sydbanks datterselskab i Schweiz aktivt har hjulpet kunder med at unddrage skat i udlandet.

Via Nykredit blev mulige kunder i bl. a. Spanien tilbudt en pakkeløsning, der bestod af et lån i friværdien på deres luksusbolig, der så blev investeret gennem Sydbank Schweiz.

Modellen blev bl. a. markedsført som en måde at skjule værdier for spanske skattemyndigheder og en måde at tjene ekstra penge på.

Dette skete på trods af, at Sydbank ikke havde spansk banklicens.

Flere kunder har tabt millioner på produktet.

Også andre danske banker har været involveret i lignende modeller.




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