Spanish lawyer chasing Danish banks

January 13th, 2012
Story by JULIE Hornbek PETER TOFT and Nyholm | Finans Watch

A Spanish lawyer is trying to pull six Danish banks in court for selling risky investment for homeowners on the coast.

Fraudulent and misleading marketing. This is a Spanish lawyer charges against 10 banks, including six Danish, who sold the investment at the Suncoast.

Lawyer Antonio Flores from Marbella, Spain, representing clients from Nordea, Danish Bank, Sydbank, Nykredit, Jyske Bank and Finance Bank.

Bank customers have lost money to borrow against their Spanish one million houses and invest equity – often through tax havens like Switzerland and Luxemburg. Flores argues that the customers were told that they could avoid Spanish inheritance tax on the house, and that investment would both cover the cost of borrowing and provide extra spending money.

“Banks have scammed people. They should never have offered the products for these people,” said the lawyer.

“Banks are obliged not to sell products that can harm people. Investment in equity is a højrisikabelt product that was sold to retirees on false premises. If the banks had informed about risks, they would never have put the whole property at stake,” he says.

Will terminate contracts

Moreover, it is not lawful to borrow against his house in order to avoid inheritance tax, says Antonio Flores.

He says his clients have invested a total of around 200 million. million in such products – and lost between 30 per cent. and 40 per cent., as the market broke in 2008. Flores goes after getting contracts ruled invalid and require banks to replace the losses, according to Flores calculates to between £60 and £80 million. The service is being offered at a “no win, no fee” model.

So far, this has been an uphill battle for the lawyer. The case has been dismissed by the local court in Fuengirola and the High Court in Madrid.Currently, a local court in Marbella, however, assumed a similar case against Nordea Bank, where they investigate allegations of deceptive marketing to a British couple.
“We are sorry that there is a customer who was unhappy with the bank,” said John Mortensen, Head of Nordea in Luxembourg.

“But we have observed all the rules we should. So in that light, we are not worried.”
The other banks said they have not been contacted in cases and insists that they have followed all the rules.

At Denmark’s largest bank, Danish Bank, take the accusations calmly.

“We are amazed that Flores lawyers insist the matter has been rejected twice,” says Klaus nsted Pedersen, CEO of Danish Bank International.

Jyllands-Posten has in recent days focused on Danish banks’ business with wealthy clients on the Suncoast. Sydbank Switzerland in internal documents acknowledged that there can be no substitutes for high net worth clients in Spain, who have invested their home equity through the bank in Switzerland.

 

Original Article in Danish Below

Spansk advokat jagter danske banker

Af JULIE HORNBEK TOFT og PETER NYHOLM

Offentliggjort 13.01.12 kl. 07:13

En spansk advokat forsøger at hive seks danske banker i retten for at have solgt risikable investeringslån til husejere på Solkysten.

Svindel og vildledende markedsføring. Sådan lyder en spansk advokats anklager mod 10 banker, heriblandt seks danske, der har solgt investeringslån på Solkysten.

Advokat Antonio Flores fra Marbella, Spanien, repræsenterer kunder fra Nordea, Danske Bank, Sydbank, Nykredit, Jyske Bank og Finansbanken.

Bankkunderne har tabt penge på at belåne deres spanske millionvillaer og investere friværdien – ofte gennem skattely som Schweiz og Luxemburg. Flores hævder, at kunderne blev fortalt, at de kunne undgå spansk arveafgift på huset, og at investeringerne både ville dække låneudgifterne og give ekstra lommepenge.

“Bankerne har snydt folk. De skulle aldrig have tilbudt produkterne til disse mennesker,” siger advokaten.

“Banker er forpligtede til ikke at sælge produkter, der kan skade folk. Investeringslån i friværdien er et højrisikabelt produkt, der blev solgt til pensionister på falske præmisser. Hvis bankerne havde informeret om risici, ville de aldrig have sat hele ejendomme på spil,” siger han.

Vil ophæve kontrakter

Desuden er det ikke lovligt at belåne sit hus med det formål at slippe for arveafgift, mener Antonio Flores.

Han fortæller, at hans klienter i alt har investeret omkring 200 mio. kr. i sådanne produkter – og tabt mellem 30 pct. og 40 pct., da markedet knækkede i 2008. Flores går efter at få kontrakterne dømt ugyldige og forpligte bankerne til at erstatte tabene, der ifølge Flores beregner sig til mellem 60 og 80 mio. kr.

Flores aflønnes efter en ”no cure, no pay”-model og vil i så fald få 10 pct. af erstatningssummerne.

Indtil videre har det dog været op ad bakke for advokaten. Sagen er blevet afvist ved den lokale ret i Fuengirola og landsretten i Madrid. I øjeblikket har en lokal domstol i Marbella dog antaget en lignende sag mod Nordea Bank, hvor de undersøger anklager om vildledende markedsføring over for et britisk ægtepar.

“Vi er kede af, at der er en kunde, der er blevet utilfreds med banken,” siger John Mortensen, chef for Nordea i Luxemburg.

“Men vi har overholdt alle de regler, vi skal. Så i det lys er vi ikke bekymrede.”

De øvrige banker fortæller, at de ikke er blevet kontaktet i sagerne og fastholder, at de har fulgt alle regler.

Hos Danmarks største bank, Danske Bank, tager man anklagerne roligt.

“Vi er forbløffede over, at advokat Flores holder fast i sagen, der er blevet afvist to gange,” siger Klaus Mønsted Pedersen, adm. direktør for Danske Bank International.

Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten har de seneste dage sat fokus på danske bankers forretninger med rige kunder på solkysten. Sydbank Schweiz har i interne dokumenter erkendt, at der kan blive tale om erstatninger til formuende kunder i Spanien, som har investeret deres friværdi gennem banken i Schweiz.

One thought on “Spanish lawyer chasing Danish banks

  1. robin carter

    The whole point about this case is that it is a fact THAT DANSKE BANK HAVE SOLD A PRODUCT WHICH HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED BY THE SPANISH TAX AUTHORITIES. IT HAS USED KPMG’ NAME ON PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL WITHOUT KPMG’S AUTHORITY. IT HAS NOT AUTORITY TO MARKET THE PRODUCT AS IT WAS NOT REGISTERED A REQUIREMENT FROM THE MARKETING AUTHORITIES. IT HAS PUT THE INHERITEES IN AN ILLEGAL SITUATION. WHAT IS BEING DONE ABOUT IT

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