Good News From Spain 30/09/2020
BREAKING NEWS: Supreme Court of Spain confirms the illegality of 12 equity release mortgages
The Supreme Court of Spain has upheld the illegality of 12 mortgage loans valued at six million euros, granted to British families mostly in Malaga province between 2004 and 2007, and orders land registries to cancel all mortgage records.
The case was dealt originally by a Court of First Instance in Bilbao -and later the Appeal Court in the same city- as all loans were granted at a local notary, and the representatives of the lender, SL Mortgage Funding nº1 Limited (SLMF), were also based in the Basque city, according to Lawbird Legal Services SLP.
These loans were sold to attain a reduction in potential inheritance tax, as mortgages would reduce the taxable value of the property, but also -in some cases- to supplement the modest pensions received by the owners of the properties.
SL Mortgage Funding nº1 Limited (SLMF), based in Chester (UK), had not applied for the necessary regulatory permits to legally raise funds from the public and provide an investment service – activities reserved and regulated by the Bank of Spain and the CNMV (financial regulator). Despite this, SLMF would lend but at the same time retain most of the proceeds of the loan, which would then be invested in speculative products with The Premiere Group, in the Isle of Man.
According to the lawyer Luis Gonzalez of Lawbird Legal Services SLP, working on behalf of the claimants, the ruling confirms that operating in breach of mandatory banking and financial regulations makes the offender a ‘boiler room’, even if the company was legally operating in its own country. It also allows the victims to “end the nightmare” which has blighted them and their families for the best party of 15 years.
The Supreme Court establishes another important factual point: that SLM was indeed an investment services’ company because “the combination of a loan and its application to an investment fund is a financial instrument of those listed on article 2 of the Stock Exchange Act”, being immaterial if claimants had or not sued related investment companies since who really managed the fund was SLM, and those investment companies were nothing but agents acting for and on behalf of SLM.
Finally, the Supreme Court determines that SLM operated as a Collective Investment Fund since they a) raised funds from the public, b) invested those funds in an investment scheme and c) subjected the distribution of profits to the outcome of the fund.
The sale of this product was conducted via commission-earning financial advisory firms (Hamiltons Financial Services, Henry Woods Investment Management, and others), based in Estepona, Marbella and Fuengirola. SLMF also recommended a network of lawyers which would downplay the extent of the lack of licensing requirements of the bank and the product.
The Spanish Supreme Court has the ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all cases in Spain. This means that the dismissal of the appeal is the end of the process to have the “SITIRS” product reviewed judicially; the only exception to this rule is a very restrictive appeal to the Constitutional Tribunal in the event that the appellant could prove violation of fundamental rights and freedoms, a very unlikely scenario in a case involving a bank.
Thank you to him for his support
Los jubilados extranjeros que demandaron por estafa a un banco islandés comienzan a ganar en los juzgados
(Translation at end of article)
Una sentencia dictada en Marbella declara nulo el contrato de préstamo firmado por una pareja por cláusula abusiva y al no haber podido certificar la entidad que les entregó realmente el dinero
Su caso saltó a los medios de comunicación hace años pero no fue hasta el pasado 2018 cuando los afectados pusieron cara al problema y se concentraron en los juzgados de Marbella para denunciar que un banco islandés en Marbella les había vendido un producto financiero «tóxico». Acusaban a la entidad de hipotecar sus casas y destinar el dinero de los préstamos a fondos de inversión con el riesgo de peder sus ahorros. Alguno llegó a peder su casa. Decidieron agruparse y el colectivo, de casi 200 afectados, todos jubilados y la mayoría ciudadanos británicos residentes en la Costa del Sol, empieza a ver la luz. Un juzgado de Marbella acaba de dar la razón a un matrimonio de afectados estimando que el banco, Landsbanki (a través de su filial en Luxemburgo), en liquidación por quiebra, impuso cláusulas nulas por abusivas y que además la entidad no ha podido siquiera demostrar que les dieran el dinero del préstamo que además ahora la entidad les reclama. Y lo hace en una demanda que la propia entidad había presentado contra los particulares reclamándoles el dinero que supuestamente habían dejado de ingresar.
«La sentencia nos da la razón en lo que veníamos sosteniendo», explica el abogado marbellí, Ignacio Infante, que representa a unos 160 afectados. «El motivo de esta desestimación es que el banco no tuvo en cuenta que los clientes son consumidores y no profesionales de las finanzas, y les impuso cláusulas que el juzgado declara nulas por abusivas», indica. «Además no han podido demostrar que les dieran el dinero que ahora les reclaman», explica el abogado.
Los afectados, unos 200, decidieron agruparse para demandar al banco
La sentencia del Juzgado de Primera Instancia Número 3 de Marbella, con fecha de 25 de enero pasado, viene a desestimar totalmente la demanda interpuesta por la entidad Landsbanki Luxembourg, S. A. contra el matrimonio Pearce, «… y siendo coadyuvante como codemandada la entidad Asociación de Víctimas de Landsbanki Luxembourg, absuelvo a los comendados de todas las pretensiones contra ellos deducidas por la actora, condenando a esta al pago de las costas procesales», recoge la sentencia a la que ha tenido acceso este periódico.
El titular del juzgado expone que «no puede estimarse acreditada en derecho, desde luego no en debida forma ni con las mínimas garantías de veracidad, la certeza, liquidez y cuantía de la deuda cuyo pago se reclama, la carga de cuya prueba incumbía a la parte actora (…) con la consecuencia de que también, por este motivo, ha de concluirse que procede la íntegra desestimación de la demanda».
En este caso concreto, la entidad reclamaba a los clientes el pago de 424.199 euros por una resolución anticipada de un contrato de préstamo, si bien los demandados llevaron a su vez ante la justicia que los contratos firmados fueran declarados nulos e incluso llegaron a pedir indemnizacion. El contrato se firmó en el año 2004. El préstamo fue de 520.000 euros, pero los clientes alegaron que nunca les fue entregada tal cantidad.
Producto financiero complejo
El préstamo fue concertado en el marco de una operación que integraba un producto financiero complejo, denominado Sitra II o Mitra II, consistente en que «el cliente hipoteca un inmueble libre de cargas sito en España y a cambio obtiene una suma de dinero que le va a ser prestado, primero en documento privado, pero que se retiene por Landsbanki en torno a un 80% y lo destina a la compra de un seguro de vida que no es tal sino un producto de inversión muy sofisticado llamado «seguro de prima única», invirtiéndose por la gestora del banco, denominada Lex Life, (que comercializó en España dicho producto a través de Landsbanki entre 2004 y 2008, fecha en la que el banco quebró) en una serie de productos desconocidos para los afectados y de difícil comprensión, suponiendo que el producto eximía del pago del impuesto de sucesiones en España o lo reducía, que los intereses cubrían la amortización de la hipoteca, que quedaba una cantidad para complementar las pensiones o ingresos de los clientes, tratándose de un producto financiero complejo del que no se proporcionó a los señores Pearce la suficiente y necesaria información».
La empresa les acusa de que dejaron de pagar sus cuotas, pero cierto es que, según se recoge en la sentencia, «el banco quebró y sus cuentas fueron liquidadas y ya no podían ingresar los pagos. Además el seguro de vida vinculado al préstamo se vendió y los activos que supuestamente tenían los codemandados fueron liquidados y sin su consentimiento».
En febrero de 2017 un juzgado de Fuengirola se pronunciaba igualmente contra Landsbanki. El letrado Ignacio de Infante subraya que la de Marbella es la primera sentencia a favor de los afectados de los «160 asuntos» que actualmente se dirimen por toda la geografía española, dado que «los liquidadores del banco empezaron a demandar a los clientes en 2017 en un intento de hacer liquidez para pagar al único acreedor que tiene el banco que es un fondo buitre», indica. Mientras, las demandas de los propios afectados contra el banco se irán viendo en los próximos meses.
La sentencia no es firme y contra ella cabe recurso ante la Audiencia Provincial.
A judgement issued in Marbella declares null and void the loan contract signed by a couple for an abusive clause and not having been able to certify the entity that actually gave them the money.
MÓNICA PÉREZMarbellaThursday, 31 January 2019, 00:19
His case jumped to the media years ago but it was not until last 2018 when those affected put a face to the problem and concentrated in the courts of Marbella to denounce that an Icelandic bank in Marbella had sold them a “toxic” financial product. They accused the institution of mortgaging their homes and allocate the money from the loans to investment funds with the risk of losing their savings. Someone even lost their house. They decided to group and the group of almost 200 affected, all retired and most British citizens living on the Costa del Sol, begins to see the light. A court in Marbella has just given the reason to a couple affected estimating that the bank, Landsbanki (through its subsidiary in Luxembourg), in liquidation for bankruptcy, imposed clauses null and void for abusive and that in addition the entity has not even been able to prove that they gave them the money of the loan that the entity now claims. And it does so in a lawsuit that the entity itself had filed against the private individuals claiming the money they had allegedly stopped entering.
“The sentence gives us the reason in what we were holding,” explains the lawyer from Marbella, Ignacio Infante, who represents some 160 affected. “The reason for this dismissal is that the bank did not take into account that customers are consumers and not financial professionals, and imposed clauses that the court declared null and void for abusive,” he says. “In addition, they have not been able to prove that they were given the money they are now claiming,” explains the lawyer.
The affected, about 200, decided to group to sue the bank
The sentence of the Court of First Instance Number 3 of Marbella, dated January 25, comes to dismiss completely the lawsuit filed by the entity Landsbanki Luxembourg, S. A. against the marriage Pearce, “… and being co-defendant as co-defendant the entity Association of Victims of Landsbanki Luxembourg, acquitted the commanders of all claims against them deducted by the plaintiff, condemning the latter to pay the costs of proceedings,” states the sentence to which this newspaper has had access.
The head of the court states that “the certainty, liquidity and amount of the debt for which payment is claimed, the burden of proof of which was incumbent on the plaintiff (…) cannot be considered proven in law, certainly not in due form or with the minimum guarantees of veracity, with the consequence that, for this reason, it must also be concluded that the claim should be dismissed in its entirety”.
424,199 for an early termination of a loan contract, although the defendants in turn brought to justice the fact that the contracts signed were declared null and void and even went so far as to ask for compensation. The contract was signed in 2004. The loan was 520,000 euros, but the clients claimed that they had never been given such an amount.
Complex financial product
The loan was arranged within the framework of an operation that integrated a complex financial product, called Sitra II or Mitra II, consisting of “the client mortgages a real estate free of charges located in Spain and in exchange obtains a sum of money that is going to be lent, first in private document, but is retained by Landsbanki around 80% and uses it to purchase a life insurance that is not such but a very sophisticated investment product called “single premium insurance”, invested by the manager of the bank, called Lex Life, (which marketed the product in Spain through Landsbanki between 2004 and 2008, when the bank went bankrupt) in a series of products unknown to those affected and difficult to understand, assuming that the product exempted from payment of inheritance tax in Spain or reduced it, that the interest covered the amortization of the mortgage, that there was an amount left to supplement the pensions or income of customers, being a complex financial product of which Mr. Pearce was not provided with sufficient and necessary information.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
The company accuses them of failing to pay their fees, but it is true that, according to the ruling, “the bank went bankrupt and their accounts were liquidated and they could no longer pay. In addition, the life insurance linked to the loan was sold and the assets allegedly held by the co-defendants were liquidated without their consent.
In February 2017 a court in Fuengirola also ruled against Landsbanki. The lawyer Ignacio de Infante stresses that Marbella is the first ruling in favor of those affected by the “160 cases” that are currently settled throughout the Spanish geography, given that “the liquidators of the bank began to sue customers in 2017 in an attempt to make liquidity to pay the only creditor that has the bank that is a vulture fund,” he says. Meanwhile, the lawsuits of those affected against the bank will be seen in the coming months.
The sentence is not final and an appeal can be filed against it before the Provincial Court.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
This year sees the next stage in our fight against Landsbanki Lu and their administrator in Paris. Dates for the hearing should be announced later in February.
Since losing our last case in Paris in 2017 we have as a group spent an enormous amount of time preparing for the appeal which coupled with our new team of lawyers expect to come away with a satisfactory result. As events unfold we will keep you all informed on this web site.
Whilst writing this we wanted to make quite clear that as a group of victims we are not responsible for any articles and comments posted on social media with regards to opinions on European Governments their leaders, nor on groups such as the Gilet Jeaune’s.
As they say, watch this space…..
Good news for some victims in Spain from Lawbird
Landsbanki fails to transfer Equity Release cases to Luxembourg
It has been a while since our last post, but things have been fairly quiet in the litigation front, save for Landsbanki’s cases.
Undeterred by recent rotund judicial response against Equity Release contracts, liquidators for the Icelandic defunct financial predator remain undeterred and a still trying to collect their investments or, if needed, steal pensioners’ properties from under their feet.
For Landsbanki, cunning has become a second nature and consequently, their very latest devious strategy is to contest the jurisdiction of Spanish Courts in favour of the bank-friendly tribunals of Luxembourg, invoking EU-bankruptcy laws.
So far though, ERVA lawyers have managed to throw out no less than 8 motions filed by Landsbankito have the cases relocated to Luxembourg Courts. The Courts involved are in the Malaga, Almeria and Alicante provinces.
2 further motions were accepted by the Courts but are likely to be reversed on appeal.
On finding in favour of the victims of the equity release fraud, the Courts upheld existing case law on the matter (two rulings of the Court of Appeal of Malaga of 2013 and 2015) as well as legal precepts invoked by the counsel of the victims.
Specifically, the Courts have convened that:
- EU-bankruptcy laws do not apply to contracts signed by consumers, who still have the right to choose to litigate where they live.
- EU-bankruptcy laws do not apply to legal agreements or contracts that were entered with the company prior to it becoming insolvent.
- Spanish laws grant exclusive jurisdiction to national Courts where dispute over property registered rights is concerned.
Unfortunately the verdict in Paris was against us, however we have been granted an appeal, date to be advised. In the meantime we continue to fight against the corruption and wicked actions of those behind the bank and its liquidation.
Monday August 28th the Judge in Paris will give his verdict. As soon as we know the result we will publish it here.
In the meantime here is a link to an article by Sigrún Davídsdóttir which is relevant to the case as it concerns the possible misdemeanors of the major shareholders of Landsbanki in 2005 which would have played a major part in the losses experienced by the Equity Release victims.
A whole new type of court cases is emerging in Iceland: shareholders are suing in civil cases for damages suffered as the collapse of Landsbanki and Kaupthing wiped out their shareholdings. Three recent Supreme Court decisions have paved the way for class action against Landsbanki’s largest shareholder, Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson, to test if he was responsible for shareholders’ losses as the bank collapsed 7 October 2008. Those behind the Landsbanki class action intend to sue Kaupthing’s managers for the same reason, i.e. financial losses, based on a criminal case where nine Kaupthing managers have already been sentenced for market manipulation.
“Around thirty men are to blame for the banking collapse” – this is how Vilhjálmur Bjarnason, now member of Alþingi for the Independence party, dramatically described the situation a few weeks after Iceland’s three largest banks failed one after the other from 6 to 8 October 2008.
Bjarnason was himself one of tens of thousands of Icelanders who owned small shareholdings in the Icelandic banks, worthless after these October days in 2008. Some years ago, he was one of the instigators in setting up a group to test if damages could possibly be sought through class action.
Class action – a novelty in Icelandic courts
Nothing like that had ever been tried in Iceland and the path has proven tortuous. Last year, the Reykjavík District Court dismissed the case. The Supreme Court confirmed that decision but at the same time gave the group a direction to test: the Supreme Court pointed out the group’s diverse interests; after splitting the original group into three homogenous groups, according to when they bought the shares, the case was tried again. Again, the District Court threw the case out but the Supreme Court has now ordered the District Court to process the case.
This means that the three groups can now have their case tested.
The thrust of the case is that Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson, as the bank’s largest shareholder, withheld relevant information that should have been in the bank’s annual accounts for 2005 and onwards. The information relates to loans to related partners, i.e. Björgólfsson and his father and also information regarding control over the bank. Had the shareholders been aware of this, they would not have wanted to invest in the bank.
A case built on the SIC report and witnesses
The case is partly built on the report of the Special Investigative Commission, SIC, published in 2010, which indeed recounts all of this. In addition, the group has sought documents and statements from witnesses in an earlier case, brought for the purpose of gathering evidence. If Björgólfsson will be found to have been in breach he will consequently be forced to pay damages to the shareholders behind the class action.
These attempts by the shareholders to sue Björgólfsson have been followed closely by the Icelandic media. Björgólfsson claims the action is utterly baseless and only a personal vendetta against him. One of the shareholders funding the action is Róbert Wessman, earlier CEO of Actavis. Shortly after Björgólfsson took over Actavis in 2007 Wessman left the company and founded his own generic pharmaceutical company. Wessman and Björgólfsson, who parted on bad terms, were for some years suing and counter-suing each other and as often reported in the Icelandic media there is no love lost between the two businessmen.
Kaupthing managers face action from the same shareholders
In October 2016, Sigurður Einarsson former chairman of Kaupthing, former CEO Hreiðar Már Sigurðsson and seven other Kaupthing managers were found guilty of market manipulation by the Supreme Court (see earlier Icelog). Since the managers have already been found guilty, the three groups behind the Landsbanki class action plan to sue Kaupthing managers personally for damages.
Who exactly will be sued is not clear but it seems highly likely that Einarsson and Sigurðsson will be among those sued.
PARIS TRIAL MAY 2017
On Trial have been:
SOCIETE LANDSBANKI LUXEMBOURG, Vincent FAILLY, Morten Juul NIELSEN, Olle LINDFORS, Torben Bjerregaard JENSEN, Thomas NIELSEN, Pascal MARCEROU, Gunnar THORODDSEN, Professor Robert ANTHONY, Bjorgolfur GUDMUNDSSON.
The trial opened on May 2nd and was scheduled to run for a total of 10 half days finishing on May 24th. Additional times were added during the course of the hearing.
The opening hearings dealt mainly with the evidence given by victims of the equity release investment scam. They all told a similar story about how they were sold safe investments by the bank and their representatives in this once in a lifetime opportunity. A chance for them to invest in Luxembourg where the rich and famous place their money. Safe investments with income to cover the interest with enough to reduce the draw down.
This was then followed by evidence given by the accused, naturally all denying any knowledge of wrong doing and advising the court that it was not them but the victims who had been at fault for not realizing that this safe investment scheme was in fact quite the opposite. They did not seem to have an answer as to why all English speaking victims were given their contracts in French or Spanish while the French had the contracts written in English. Fishy already as we had all requested to have them in our own language.
We then had testimonies from 3 experts (Vincent GALAND and Genevieve BERAUD GRAVILLON) who all came to the same conclusion that the scheme could never work to the advantage of the investors, and ultimately only to the benefit of the bank. These experts were extremely well qualified individuals and also included an accountant from another bank who disclosed that early in the 2000s they had looked at this scheme and decided it was completely toxic and dismissed any plans to offer it to their clients.
It should also be noted that it was revealed that the UK had outlawed these schemes in 1990 where several financial organisations had had to compensate individuals who had been investors like our own victims. Notably it seems that Professor Robert Anthony whose company offered this scheme to several of the victims was apparently unaware of this despite being a partner in Robert Anthony & Co London Ltd since the mid 1980s. It had even been discussed in Parliament in 2003 MPs including Prof Vince Cable, Angela Browning, Paul Tyler, Lynne Jones and Ruth Kelly.
The third week heard the testimonies from Bjorgulfur GUDMUNDSSON, one of the major shareholders of the bank and Chairman at the time of the collapse, and also the Liquidator of the Bank, Madam HAMILIUS. These proved to be interesting, not least that Gudmundsson said he was not experienced in banking ( owning a bottling plant in St Petersburg wouldn’t qualify) and seemed totally unaware of what had been going on under his guidance. Good they had the bank in the right hands then! Funny also that his son is now the 85th richest man in the world according to the Sunday Times rich list and was a major shareholder of Landsbanki Is whilst his father is now apparently bankrupt.
This in my opinion fluffy testimony was then followed by Madam HAMILIUS. Now excuse me for being naïve here but I had always been under the impression that an administrator of any company in liquidation would take the trouble to investigate what had been going on in the years leading up to the insolvency. Surely you have to take exams, become a lawyer, an accountant or something similar otherwise where you would be taught how to do it correctly. Otherwise we could all do it. Well it seemed to me that Madam HAMILIUS did not appear to understand exactly what had been going on.
Had she taken the trouble to investigate in depth she might have discovered that all was not well. As an example he advised us that the victims had been responsible for their own investments (a total fabrication of the truth) and that we were therefore responsible for the losses! At that point victims in the court were asked by the Judge to stand and those that had controlled their investments asked to sit down again. Only one couple sat down.
Her testimony went on in this vein highlighting her apparent total lack of understanding of the circumstances surrounding this criminal scam. You can’t blame everything on what the computer tells you.
So that brings us to the last week concluding today May 24th. The last three days involved lawyers for the victims and the accused giving their conclusions and the lawyer for the bank attempting to show that they were without fault in this whole sorry story.
The lawyers for the victims Maitre MAINGAIN and Maitre LAUGIER were outstanding not only in their presentation but also in their complete knowledge of all the facts surrounding this wicked criminal fraud. Maitre MAINGAIN had taken on the case in the first place because on studying the evidence when approached a few years ago he knew that fraud had been committed and that he should be involved to help the victims of this investment scam.
The Judge will retire and deliberate on all the facts that he has been given and will come to his conclusions in due course. It is rumoured that we should get a ruling in the autumn, around October but maybe sooner, so watch this space.
Please note that although I attended all but the last 2 days of the hearing I had to rely on an interpreter which whilst being good may have been a little off key at times. The above short resume is my take on the hearing and should not be taken as verbatim. It is certainly not unbiased as I am a victim and if I were the Judge then they would all go to prison and be fined the maximum possible for having put all victims through 9 years of complete hell at a time of our lives when we should have been enjoying the fruits of our years of hard work before we all pop off this mortal coil.
Feedback from Paris Tribunal De Grande Instance case May 2nd 2017
The long-winding saga of the Landsbanki Luxembourg equity release loans is now in a French court in Paris, i.e. the alleged mis-selling. However, as the oral hearings brought out so clearly, other angles of this case have been ignored, i.e. the bank’s potential mismanagement of clients’ funds and the very questionable handling of the Landsbanki Luxembourg administrator. These last two issues have left so many clients frustrated and at their wit’s end.
A court case at the Palais de Justice, part of the spectacular Palais de la Cité on the Îsle de la Cité in the heart of Paris, is a grand spectacle to behold. Or at least that was my impression last week as I sat through two afternoons of oral hearing in the penal case against Landsbanki Luxembourg bankers and Landsbanki’s chairman Björgólfur Guðmundsson, the only one of the accused who was not present.
Apart from the three judges and the prosecutor there were the thirty or so lawyers fluttering around in their black cloaks with white bands around the neck. The lawyers were defence lawyers for those charged, lawyers for some of the witnesses and then there were lawyers related to civil cases connected to this case.
The case, brought by a prosecutor after an investigation led by Justice Renaud van Ruymbeke, centres on alleged mis-selling of equity release loans, as explained in an earlier Icelog. Oral hearings are scheduled until May 24, but the hearings were taking longer than expected and extra days to be added. The judgement can be expected in autumn.
French borrowers got contract in English, foreigners in French
The involvement of the very famous French singer Enrico Macias in the Landsbanki Luxembourg case has secured the attention of the French media; Macias took out an equity release loan of around €35m and his losses amount to €9m.* On the first day of the oral hearings, 2 May, Macias sat in court surrounded by his black-cloaked lawyers. On the second day of the hearings when Macias was questioned I counted nine lawyers apparently part of his entourage.
Macias was questioned back and forth for ca. three hours, no mercy there for this elderly gentleman, by the very astute and sharp judge. Only at one point, when one of the defence lawyers had probed Macias’ story did the singer lose his patience, crying out he had lost his wife and his house because of this bank. The judge reminded him that the charges were serious and the nine men accused had the right to defend themselves.
When Macias’ contract was brought up during the questioning an interpreter was called to assist. It turned out that Macias’ contract was in English. Some of the foreign borrowers were in court – German, English, American etc. It turns out that the foreign equity release borrowers all seem to have a contract in French. One told me he had asked for a contract in English and been told he would get it later; he didn’t.
Intriguingly, there seems to be a pattern here as I heard when I spoke to other borrowers: Landsbanki Luxembourg gave the foreign borrowers, i.e. non-French, a contract in French but the French borrowers, like Macias, got a contract in English.
Much of the questioning centred on the fact that Landsbanki Luxembourg promised the borrowers the loans were “auto-financed.” To take an example: if the loan in total was for example €1m, the borrower got 20-30% paid out in cash and the bank invested the rest, stating the investment would pay for the loan. Ergo, Landsbanki promised the borrowers they would get a certain amount of cash for free, so to speak.
The judge asked the various witnesses time and again if that had not sounded to too good to be true to get a loan for free. As Macias and others pointed out the explanations given by the bankers and the brokers selling the loans seemed convincing. After all, these borrowers were not professionals in finance.
This line of questioning rests on the charges of alleged mis-selling. Other questions related to information given, who was present when the contracts were signed, validity of signatures etc.
The dirty deals in Luxembourg
The operations of the Icelandic banks have been carefully scrutinised in Iceland, first in the SIC report, published in April 2010 and later in the various criminal cases where Icelandic bankers and some of their closest collaborators have been prosecuted in Iceland.
There is one common denominator in all the worst cases of criminal conduct and/questionable dealings: they were conducted in and through Luxembourg.
All of this and all of these cases are well known to authorities in Luxembourg: Luxembourg authorities have assisted the investigations of the Icelandic Special Prosecutor, i.e. enabled the Prosecutor to gather information and documents in house searches in Luxembourg.
These cases exposing the role of Luxembourg in criminal conduct are all Icelandic but the conduct is not uniquely Icelandic. I would imagine that many financial crooks of this world have equally made use of Luxembourg enablers, i.e. bankers, lawyers and accountants, in financial shenanigans and crimes.
The Landsbanki questions Luxembourg has ignored
As I have pointed out earlier, alleged mis-selling is not the only impertinent question regarding the Landsbanki Luxembourg operations. There are also unanswered questions related to management of clients’ fund by Landsbanki Luxembourg, i.e. the investment part of the equity release loans (and possibly other investments) and, how after the bank’s collapse in October 2008, the bank’s court appointed Luxembourg administrator Yvette Hamilius has fulfilled her role.
As to the management of funds, some borrowers have told me that after the collapse of Landsbanki Luxembourg they discovered that contrary to what they were told the bank had invested their funds in Landsbanki bonds and bonds of other Icelandic banks. This was even done when the clients had explicitly asked for non-risky investments. As far as is known, Luxembourg authorities have neither investigated this nor any of the Icelandic operations with one exception: one case regarding Kaupthing is being investigated in Luxembourg and might lead to charges.
The latter question refers to serious complaints by equity release borrowers as to how Hamilius has carried out her job. Figures and financial statements sent to the clients do not add up. Hamilius has given them mixed information as to what they owe the bank and kept them in the dark regarding the investment part of their loans. Icelog has seen various examples of this. Hamilius has allegedly refused to acknowledge them as creditors to the bank.
On the whole, her communication with the clients has been exceedingly poor, letters and calls ignored and she has been unwilling to meet with clients. One client, who did manage to get a meeting with her, was seriously told off for bringing his lawyer along even though he had earlier informed her the name of the person he would bring with him.
Hamilius, on the other hand, claims the clients are only trying to avoid paying their debt. She has tried to recover properties in Spain and France, even after the bankers were charged in France. One of many remarkable turns in this case (see here) was a press release issued Robert Biever Procureur Général d’Etat – nothing less than the Luxembourg State Prosecutor – in support of Hamilius in her warfare against the equity release clients.
The court case at the imposing Palais de Justice in Paris gives an interesting insight into the operations of Landsbanki Luxembourg. As to management of funds prior to the bank’s collapse and the administrator’s handling of her duties Luxembourg has, so far, only shown complete apathy.
*I picked these numbers during the hearings but French media has reported different figures so I can’t certify these are the correct figures.
DÉBUT du PROCÈS de la LANDSBANKI LUXEMBOURG
UN DOUBLE MENSONGE du LUXEMBOURG et “ce n’est pas parce qu’on est avocat qu’on ne peut pas être victime d’escroquerie”.
“Je n’ai pas été trompé, j’ai été volé”: le procès pour escroquerie de la Landsbanki Luxembourg, filiale d’une banque islandaise emportée par la crise en 2008, a débuté ce mardi avec des témoignages de plaignants.
Neuf personnes, dont le patron de la banque Landsbanki, sont jugées jusqu’au 24 mai par le tribunal correctionnel de Paris.
Le procès, qui va durer UN MOIS , a commencé par l’appel des parties civiles, dont Enrico Macias.
Le chanteur, dont la plainte en 2009 a fait éclater l’affaire, doit déposer mercredi.
Le président rappelle les faits: à l’été 2007, des propriétaires de biens immobiliers de valeur en France, et souvent en mal de liquidités, les gagent auprès de LANDSBANKI LUXEMBOURG. Ils reçoivent une fraction de la somme empruntée en argent frais, le reste sous forme de placements. Pour l’accusation, intervient alors un DOUBLE MENSONGE : sur la santé financière de la banque, et sur les risques liés à l’opération.
En 2008, la maison-mère est emportée par la crise financière puis nationalisée, comme toutes les grandes banques islandaises. La LANDSBANKI LUXEMBOURG fait faillite et sa liquidatrice entreprend de recouvrer non seulement les sommes effectivement versées aux emprunteurs, mais aussi la totalité des créances, quitte à vendre ou menacer de vendre les biens hypothéqués.
A la barre, un homme à longues moustaches et pantalon de velours.
En 2007, il gagne “environ 3.000 euros par mois” et veut renflouer son entreprise de peinture. Il n’en démord pas: il a emprunté “100.000 euros, moins les frais”.
Mais pour LANDSBANKI LUXEMBOURG, il doit 600.000 euros, la valeur estimée de l’appartement hypothéqué.
Le président lit une clause du contrat qui évoque une “prise de risque considérable”.
Un avocat de la défense asticote le plaignant: “Vous, un chef d’entreprise, vous signez un contrat sans le lire?” “J’étais pris à la gorge”, s’insurge l’homme.
“J’ai été volé, je n’ai plus rien”.
Arrive un monsieur en costume sombre à boutons dorés. En 2007, il a besoin d’argent frais.
“Je savais que partout on allait me dire non”, raconte ce Niçois de 70 ans, qui se tourne alors vers la solution “ingénieuse” proposée par LANDSBANKI LUXEMBOURG et hypothèque une maison pour près de 2 millions d’euros. Quelle est sa profession? demande la défense. “Avocat. Mais ce n’est pas parce qu’on est avocat qu’on ne peut pas être victime d’escroquerie”,
Paris Tribunal De Grande Instance case starting May 2nd 2017, 14 Quai des Orfevres at 13.30hrs
Starting May 2nd 2017 the trial of:
On the 2nd May in the Paris Court “Tribunal De Grande Instance” on Quai des Orfevres opens a criminal fraud and international money laundering trial against the managers, owners and bank of Landsbanki Luxembourg. The case concerns the miss selling of an Equity Release Investment scam against hundreds of European pensioners.
As victims of this scam we ask “Why was Europe allowed to offer these toxic deals when they had already been outlawed in the UK?
Schemes similar to this one were debated in the House of Parliament as long ago as 2003 when the misery of duped pensioners was highlighted. Please follow this link to read the debate from Hansard.
We received this letter from one of our elderly victims, based in Spain.
It speaks for itself and clearly shows the intent from day one of the purveyors of this toxic equity release investment scam to defraud innocent, perhaps naive pensioners of their life time savings. The administrator of the failed Luxembourg based Landsbanki, Maitre Hamilius from Luxembourg has described these same victims as rich individuals, sitting by their pools drinking Rose wine.
Disrespectful, dishonest and totally misleading, how dare she. Unfortunately this is the mentality that we are dealing with.
Fortunately the French courts have seen fit to bring a prosecution of some of those responsible for these heinous crimes who when found guilty will surely comprimise the position of this administrator and condemn her for not investigation the scheme. Please now read this letter from our colleague:
“I AM A WIDOWER… MY WIFE ALSO DIED at the hands of these CROOKS Six Years Ago , of a STRESS-RELATED STROKE She NEVER RECOVERED FROM.”
Here is a Personal Message from an extraordinary and very Courageous Victim of LANDSBANKI LUXEMBOURG Bank Bankruptcy Administration, who had drawn down NO MONEY from Landsbanki Luxembourg, as he fights illness, bereavement and will never stop fighting for justice and reparation for the unquantifiable damages he and his family have suffered, including the loss of his wife, when he had not drawn down one penny from Landsbanki and the callous administration continue to mow him down and he has Bailiffs threatening auction of his family home.
” I am a widower..my wife also died at the hands of these crooks six years ago, of a stress-related stroke she never recovered from.
Our house in Spain which I worked all my life for was my wife’s delight …
We went into this horrendous scam being pursued .. with the view that we were going to get a return on our investment ..that would ease our future in retirement and protect our children.
The value of our house was grossly overinflated to join the scheme pushed by glossy magazines from OMM/Lex Life/Landsbanki -Mike Mcready and his team.
We were conned.
My wife died. I have a heart problem through nine years of grief and worry.
Yvette Hamillius continues to intimidate and harass us for a ‘loan’ even though we didn’t actually take any advance! … ‘the 25%’ …as we didn’t need it!
but My children and I will fight!
We have learnt so much from joining this site ..already arranging to change our case to a ‘criminal one’.
We have refused to enter into any financial deal -already ‘recently offered by Lawyers representing Landsbanki in Marbella Spain in February this year …as we obviously know Landsbanki are linked to Money Laundering’.
We also want to claim substantial damages from Yvette Hamillius – Landsbanki for loss of life, harassment intimidation and ‘Money Laundering’.
If you all contact your Spanish Lawyers again, check your case .. see what you have paid for .
Ask if your case which should be criminal .. not civil.. constitutes a ‘Legal Lock’ on your property.
Refuse a bailiff at the door.
They cannot enter your property without first contacting your Lawyer..
They have to advise what they intend to do ..advise contents of any papers. Then arrange an appointment.
Contact this site if you want further information.
We eagerly await the Paris case – May 2nd 2017.
Name and address supplied, withheld to avoid intimidation.
ANOTHER VICTORY AGAINST THE WICKED ACTIONS COMING OUT OF LUXEMBOURG. FEBRUARY 2017
Case Against Landsbanki: Fuengirola Court confirms that Equity Release Lenders Can Never Be “Just the Lender” and Nullifies a Mortgage Loan
ERVA has had access to a Fuengirola Court ruling won against Landsbanki Luxembourg.
In the case, the Judge states that it is not conceivable that Landsbanki Luxembourg would argue successfully that “they were only the lenders” when borrowers were made to sign disclaimers, pledge agreements were put in place and statements made in respect to the uncertain performance of the underlying investments with Lex Life.
Additionally, the presiding Judge states that he did not need to read the Tax Office binding decision -ruling out the possibility of obtaining any IHT benefits- to infer that such a possibility is manifestly incorrect and against logic/common sense and therefore, misleading.
The sentencing Judge classes OMM -Offshore Money Managers- as deliberately intent on defrauding, at worst, and negligent at best (Colin “McGreedy”) for issuing advertising promising any IHT benefits, stating that it is admitted that this company was the agent of Landsbanki.
Meanwhile, desperately rapacious psychopath (i.e. person devoid of empathy and remorse) Yvette Hamilius continues to ignore any sign that her employers could have made mistakes with the marketing of the “Equity Release” and relentlessly continues in her quest to grab pensioner’s properties.
This ruling sets an interesting precedent in respect to Rothschild’s much-vaunted allegation that they “were only the lenders”, when the loan was inextricably linked to investment portfolio via the pledge agreement and Rothschild did have, no matter what David de Rothschild and Eamon Bermigham say, a vetting procedure for prospective investments vehicles.
This action is beneath contempt. I knew we were fighting a monster, we now need no more proof.
LANDSBANKI’s attempt to evict an 85-year old suffering from Alzheimer comes to a halt
Landsbanki’s Yvette Hamilius could not care less about people. The insensitive, greedy and immoral banker – currently indicted on a criminal case in France- would sooner evict an 85-year old sufferer of Alzheimer than to accept that sometimes, there is a line that you cannot cross over.
But she cares not and will do all that is within her powers to leave elderly people destitute. Unfortunately for her, on this occasion lawyers acting for an octogenarian couple victim of Landsbanki’s predatory banking have managed to persuade the Courts that it is not right to evict ailing elderly people.
The Ronda-based Judge denied Landsbanki’s petition to have the lady summoned once again. As a result of this setback, the lender has resigned to the fact that it may not be possible to just pull her out and thus, have agreed to have the Spanish Prosecutor Service representing the victim, as petitioned by lawyers acting for her.
This is great news for all victims of Equity release scams Europe wide.
In France the big case starts in Paris May 2nd 2017. more on this in due course
BREAKING NEWS: BILBAO COURT NULLIFIES 12 SLM MORTGAGE LOANS WORTH 6 MILLION EUROS
Court 11 in Bilbao has invalidated 12 Equity Release IHT mitigation mortgage loans sold to the public bySL MORTGAGE FUNDING Nº1 LIMITED.
The Court orders the diverse Land Registries to remove the charges with immediate effect and nullifies, alongside, any and all contracts signed by borrowers with the Cheshire-based lender.
In addition, the Court has resolved that borrowers will not have to return any advance payments made by the lender and will be entitled to the return of any disbursements made as a result of these contracts.
The Court found that SL MORTGAGE FUNDING Nº1 LIMITED operated an illegal lending and investment service and likens it to a “civil fraud”, as it did without clearance from the Spanish banking and financial authorities and concludes that the lender deserves the maximum possible penalty, as per article 1306 of the Civil Code.
Pas de vacances à la Côte d’Azur pour Hamilius et Guillaume ?
Les incohérences judiciaires de la faillite d’une banque
La place financière luxembourgeoise a été éclaboussée par pas mal de scandales financiers et notamment les faillites bancaire. Il y lieu de mentionner à titre de fins exemples les éclaboussements dus aux agissement du Ministère des Finances de nos Gouvernements successifs (souvent sous la houlette de l’actuel président de la Commission Européenne JC Juncker) de ce qui pudiquement se nomme les rescrits fiscaux : en somme affaire Luxleaks ou vulgo les tax-rulings , mais aussi les implications des acteurs du secteur financier dans l’affaire Madoff voir, les déroulements des faillites des banques islandaises pour ne nommer que ces évènement qui ont marqué profondément ces dernières années.
Les faillites bancaires et surtout la faillite d’une banque en particulier : la Landsbanki Luxembourg a mis au jour les agissements de certaines égéries du lucre et de la magouille financière à ce qu’il semble.
De quoi s’agit-il : Le régime des faillites au Luxembourg fait appel à des lois et règlements surannés, articles du code de commerce, dont certains ont plus de 100 ans, qui exigent qu’en matière de faillite il y a un juge–commissaire qui prend les rênes et nomme des liquidateurs, le cas échant pour la basse besogne de liquider les banques. Il faut signale de suite besogne bien rémunérée, car les liquidateurs touchent un pourcentage juteux sur les créances qu’ils peuvent récupérer. Donc un intérêt direct de faire de l’argent en récupérant un maximum sans trop se préoccuper de l’intendance des liquidations. D’ailleurs ce se sont presque toujours les mêmes trois-quatre avocats- liquidateurs désignés jadis par presque toujours la même juge-commissaire, le magistrat Karin Guillaume. Ce magistrat a donc désigné pour récupérer les créances dues de la défunte Landsbanki Me Yvette Hamilius. Elle fait partie du quarteron des liquidateurs « professionnels » de la place financière, pas des grands ténors du barreau. Hamilius, sans tarder, s’est lancée dans le recouvrement des créances sur débiteurs de la banque, nonobstant le fait qu’un liquidateur se doit d’étudier les agissements de la société en faillite. En clair des créances mal acquises ou par escroquerie, ne sauraient être récupérées par un liquidateur zélé car il se rendrait complice de l’escroquerie, voire de blanchiment de fonds. Or le liquidateur ne peut agir que de connivence, voir avec l’aval du juge-commissaire qui dans le cas sous hypothèse se rendrait complice lui aussi de l’escroquerie et du blanchiment de fonds d’origine criminelle.
Les deux dames concernées ne semblent pas avoir bien analysé ou ne se sont pas rendues compte que le produit de base vendu par la banque Landsbanki qui a donné naissance aux créances contre débiteurs fut un produit dérivé financier que tout professionnel averti aurait pu reconnaître comme un produit toxique, car structuré de manière à ne pouvoir générer le rendements qu’on a fait miroiter aux investisseurs crédules. A ceci s’ajoute qu’un produits était aussi illicite pour la vente à de simples particuliers d’après la Directive Européenne MiFID qui oblige les banques a catégoriser leurs client selon le degré de leur sophistication financière avant de leur proposer des produits à haut risque, mais dans le cas d’espèce triturés pour faillir.
Donc les deux dames ont persisté et ont continuées à récupérer des créances obtenus avec des moyens plus que douteux obligeant les débiteurs de la banque à rembourser lesdites créances mal acquises, voir en saisissant les immeuble des débiteurs récalcitrants et en les vendant à vil prix toujours pour récupérer de l’argent sur lequel la liquidatrice empoche bien entendu son pactole participatif avec la bénédiction de la juge-commissaire.
Or les victimes de la persécution en France ont pu se défendre et saisir la justice en France à l’encontre des agissements des deux dames. Après enquête minutieuse le juge d’instruction en France a cité devant le tribunal correctionnel de Paris la liquidation (i.e. Me Y Hamilius) pour escroqueries, abus de confiance etc. Certes il y a lieu d’attendre le verdict, mais toujours est- il que le dommage résultant d’une condamnation plus que probable va éclabousser la place financière du fait de l’agissement de ces deux égéries du lucre et de la magouille financière.
Et ce qui rend l’affaire encore plus cocasse c’est que Madame le juge–commissaire vient d’être nommée par le Gouvernement au Conseil de résolution (les banques en difficultés) et au Conseil de protection des déposants et des investisseurs de la CSSF, organisme en charge de l’administration du système de garantie des dépôts. Nonobstant le fait que le verdict du Tribunal correctionnel de Paris risque de mettre sérieusement en doute ses capacités en la matière : d’aider les banques en difficultés, voire de protéger les investisseurs, surtout s’il y a un lien avec blanchiment des fonds criminels possible, si l’escroquerie est confirmée par le tribunal correctionnel de Paris. D’ailleurs Me Hamilius se trouvera dans de sales draps aussi car complicité pourrait être retenue du fait de son acharnement de récupérer des fonds obtenus par escroquerie et de de ce fait aussi blanchiment d’argent d’origine criminelle accessoirement. Donc les deux égéries devraient faire attention avant de se rendre dans le midi de la France sur la Côte d’Azur durant l’été ; si le tribunal de Paris va conclure sur tout ce qui précède, sans parler du dommage pour la place financière de Luxembourg qui devient de plus en plus une place de misère pour les investisseurs. Un bon sujet de conférence pour Luxembourg for Finance lors d’un prochain voyage promotionnel.
Signalons encore pour conclure que les victimes des agissements de ces deux dames n’ont pas pu obtenir justice au Luxembourg, leurs diverses actions en justice ayant toujours été récusées, tandis qu’en France leurs doléances ont trouvé des oreilles plus compatissantes auprès de la justice républicaine française.
Please go to our Group Press Releases tab to see the last releases. Last one was 13th April 2016
ARTICLE BY VALERIE PUJOL IN PAPERJAM, JANUARY 2016
PART I. ——The ONGOING SAGA of the LANDSBANKI Case
THE STRATEGY of EXHAUSTION
of Veronique POUJOL – PAPER JAM article 01/2016
The ONGOING SAGA of the LANDSBANKI Case : Translated in 2 parts followed in PART III by Comments, documents and personal experiences of victims of the abhorrent conduct of a lawyer who has been told she is “IMMUNE” in Europe.
The German version will follow.
THE STRATEGY OF EXHAUSTION
FACE – to – FACE
The liquidator has her files.
The victims’ lawyers are getting impatient.
Despite the LANDSBANKI case being sent to Criminal Correctional Court in Paris, the liquidator is pursuing the clients in the Luxembourg Courts.
The season of judicial seizures is resumed against the clients, but now with the risk of incurring charges of money laundering against her.
The liquidator of Landsbanki Luxembourg, Mrs Yvette HAMILIUS, continues to play with the nerves of the victims of the Luxembourg bank, which was referred to Correctional Criminal Court in late September.
The trial is opening in Paris and yet everything is happening as if this Criminal proceeding and the freezing order on all foreclosures on real estate property ordered by judge Renaud Van RUYMBEKE, has no impact of any kind on the implementation of Civil proceedings in Luxembourg.
However, by trying to realize her demands , as she has done for several weeks, and to recover funds that could be issue of fraud, the liquidator is exposed to the risk of conspiracy in money laundering operations.
This is exactly what the Luxembourg judges concluded in July 2014 in the Chamber of the Council of the Court of appeal:
“With regard to the crime of money laundering that the liquidator of the financial institution Landsbanki Luxembourg (…), was charged with, it must be stressed that the quality of liquidator confers no criminal immunity.
“In the light of the indictments that took place in France, as shown in the ruling, there is already evidence to suggest that the marketing of the financial product Equity Release has been operated by dishonest means qualifying it as fraud.
“The judges underlined the fact that the criminal “offence of money laundering is also punishable when the primary offence was committed abroad”.
Even this sword of Damocles hanging over her head does not seem to bother Mrs HAMILIUS, who stubbornly targets certain victims.
Claiming that the civil Case is now to be in Luxembourg Court by judicial constraint, demanding full repayment of the Toxic Equity Release loans, after failing in ‘softer’ methods and having no response from the former customers of LANDSBANKI, the liquidators lays herself wide open to criticism.
This has become almost a personal vendetta;
” She wants to go to Court for herself, for her reputation, forgetting that she is an auxiliary of justice and that her personal pretentions must not enter this case “, states one of the victims’ lawyers.
The approach and methods of the liquidator, display, in his eyes, both a disdain for foreign judicial decisions, but is also a manoeuvre of ” exhaustion” of the customers of LANDSBANKI, who cannot all be called young.
This sword of damocles above his head does not seem to impress mme hamilius, who insists against some victims.
The Judges in Luxembourg :..” The offence of money-laundering is also punishable when the primary offence has been committed abroad ”
In view of the indictments intervened in France, stresses the attêt, there are already some clues, permitting to believe that the marketing of the product financial equity release has been made in the middle of unreliable processes are likely to be of the qualification of scam.”
” the judges stipulate further that ” the money-laundering offence is also punishable when the primary offence has been committed abroad “.
Veronique Poujol Paper Jam January 2016
This sword of damocles above his head does not seem to impress me hamilius, who insists against some victims.
In demanding before the civil court in Luxembourg, by judicial constraint, the repayment of loans toxic, tell equity release, after having failed by methods more “Soft” unanswered on the part of the former clients landsbanki, the liquidator ready the flank To the review.
M is almost a personal vendetta; she wants to do a trial for her, for his reputation, forgetting that she is an agent of justice and that the claims own must be foreign to this case “, Considered one of the lawyers of victims. The approach of the liquidator testifies to his eyes, to the individuals of a certain disdain for the decisions of justice foreign, but re; Eve also a maneuver “épuisemment” clients of landsbanki, which are no longer all young people.
Part III follows…. The Famous Interview Yvette Hamilius In Wort. Read the 14 October 2014 edition
” this liquidation is a success”
WELCOME TO THE SITE OF THE VICTIMS OF THE LANDSBANKI LUXEMBOURG EQUITY INVESTMENT SCAM
HACKING OUR WEBSITE-AGAIN !
28th November 2015, hacked and taken down yet again for the 4th time this year. When will they realise that we are not going to give up until we win and receive the justice that is ours?
We are pleased to announce that yet again our Victims of Landsbanki Luxembourg Site is back after being once again, PIRATED and SABOTAGED, by those who do not want the truth to be exposed about the terrible abuse of consumers, victims of Financial Crimes in the heart of Europe. We believe that the terrible LAXITY over the Laundering of Financial Crimes is not helped by the fact that Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude JUNCKER, was placed as European President despite his terrible financial Crime-protecting Track record in his country.
Money Laundering and the Laundering of FINANCIAL CRIME is an important part of what is behind the FINANCING of TERRORISM and it must be stopped by the General Public, as we can see that most Politicians and Judiciary in Finance Centres in the heart of Europe, like Luxembourg, are too weak or too involved in the protection of the Big Finance behind their power, to care about the reputation of their countries, about the citizens or to be concerned about how they are contributing to destroying Peace, Democracy, Justice and Human Rights across the world.
Whistleblowers and Journalists must be protected by the PUBLIC, as the Judiciary and the Politicians are showing they are protecting the Crimes and abuses of the Finance Sector and not the interests of the general Public.
The world needs Journalists and Whistleblowers to protect Democracy, JUSTICE and Peace on Earth. We must have the Courage and determination to fight for proper Justice for ourselves and for Future Generations.
Sadly as a result of this calculated intrusion by our enemies we have lost a large amount of our historical data, probably intentionally. However we are pleased to say that although it has been removed we still have the data on record and will be reposting it in due course.
Taken from Sigrun Davistottir’s Icelog
After a French investigation, Landsbanki Luxembourg managers and Björgólfur Guðmundsson, who together with his son Thor Björgólfsson was the bank’s largest shareholder, are being charged in relation to the bank’s equity release loans. These charges would never have been made except for the diligence of a group of borrowers. Intriguingly, authorities in Luxembourg have never acknowledged there was anything wrong with the bank’s Luxembourg operations, have actively supported the bank’s side and its administrator and shunned borrowers. The question is if the French case will have any impact on the Luxembourg authorities.
In the years up to the Icelandic banking collapse in October 2008, all the Icelandic banks had operations in Luxembourg. Via its Luxembourg subsidiary, Landsbanki entered a lucrative market, selling equity release loans to mostly elderly and retired clients, not in Luxembourg but in France and Spain (I have covered this case for a long time, see links to earlier posts here). Many other banks were doing the same, also out of Luxembourg. The same type of financial products had been offered in i.a. Britain in the 1980s but it all ended in tears and these loans have largely disappeared from the British market after UK rules were tightened.
In a nutshell, this double product, i.e. part loan part investment, was offered to people who were asset rich but cash poor as elderly people and pensioners can be. A loan was offered against a property; typically, 1/4 paid out in cash and the remainder invested with the promise that it would pay for the loan. As so often when a loan is sold with some sort of insurance it does not necessarily work out as promised (see my blog post on Austrian FX loans).
The question is if Landsbanki promised too much, promised a risk-free investment. Also, if it breached the outline of what sort of products it invested in when it invested in Landsbanki and Kaupthing bonds. This relates to what managers at Landsbanki did. In addition, the borrowers allege that the Landsbanki Luxembourg administrator ignored complaints made, mismanaged the investments made on behalf of the borrowers. Consequently, the complaints made by the borrowers refer both to events at Landsbanki, before the bank collapsed and to events after the collapse, i.e. the activities of the administrator.
The authorities in Luxembourg have shown a remarkable lack of interest in this case and certainly the borrowers have been utterly and completely shunned there. The most remarkable and incomprehensible move was when the Luxembourg state prosecutor, no less, Robert Biever Procureur Général d’Etat sided with the administrator as outlined here on Icelog. The prosecutor, without any investigation, doubted the motives of the borrowers, saying outright that they were simply trying to avoid to pay back their debt.
However, a French judge, Renaud van Ruymbeke, took on the case. Earlier, he had passed his findings on to a French prosecutor. He has now formally charged Landsbanki managers, i.a. Gunnar Thoroddsen and Björgólfur Guðmundsson. Guðmundsson is charged as he sat on the bank’s board. He was the bank’s largest shareholder, together with his son Thor Björgólfsson. The son, who runs his investments fund Novator from London, is no part in the Landsbanki Luxembourg case. In total, nine men are charged, in addition to Landsbanki Luxembourg.
According to the French charges, that I have seen, Thoroddsen and Guðmundsson are charged for having promised risk-free business and for being in breach of the following para of the French penal code:
(Ordinance no. 2000-916 of 19 September 2000 Article 3 Official Journal of 22 September 2000 in force 1 January 2002)
Fraudulent obtaining is the act of deceiving a natural or legal person by the use of a false name or a fictitious capacity, by the abuse of a genuine capacity, or by means of unlawful manoeuvres, thereby to lead such a person, to his prejudice or to the prejudice of a third party, to transfer funds, valuables or any property, to provide a service or to consent to an act incurring or discharging an obligation.
Fraudulent obtaining is punished by five years’ imprisonment and a fine of €375,000.
Attempt to commit the offences set out under this section of the present code is subject to the same penalties.
The provisions of article 311-12 are applicable to the misdemeanour of fraudulent obtaining.
(Act no. 2001-504 of 12 June 2001 Article 21 Official Journal of 13 June 2001)
(Act no. 2003-239 of 18 March 2003 Art. 57 2° Official Journal of 19 March 2003)
Natural persons convicted of any of the offences provided for under articles 313-1, 313-2, 313-6 and 313-6-1 also incur the following additional penalties:
1° forfeiture of civic, civil and family rights, pursuant to the conditions set out under article 131-26;
2° prohibition, pursuant to the conditions set out under article 131-27, to hold public office or to undertake the social or professional activity in the course of which or on the occasion of the performance of which the offence was committed, for a maximum period of five years;
3° closure, for a maximum period of five years, of the business premises or of one or more of the premises of the enterprise used to carry out the criminal behaviour;
4° confiscation of the thing which was used or was intended for use in the commission of the offence or of the thing which is the product of it, with the exception of articles subject to restitution;
5° area banishment pursuant to the conditions set out under article 131-31;
6° prohibition to draw cheques, except those allowing the withdrawal of funds by the drawer from the drawee or certified cheques, for a maximum period of five years;
7° public display or dissemination of the decision in accordance with the conditions set out under article 131-35.
(Act no. 2003-239 of 18 March 2003 Art. 57 3° Official Journal of 19 March 2003)
Natural persons convicted of any of the misdemeanours referred to under articles 313-1, 313-2, 313-6 and 313-6-1 also incur disqualification from public tenders for a maximum period of five years.”
As far as I know the scale of this case makes it one of the largest fraud cases in France. As with the FX lending the fact that the alleged fraud was carried out in more than one country by non-domestic banks helps shelter the severity and the large amounts at stake.
Again, I can not stress strongly enough that I find it difficult to understand the stance taken by the Luxembourg authorities. After all, Landsbanki has been under investigation in Iceland, where managers have been charged i.a. for market manipulation. – Without the diligent attention by a group of Landsbanki Luxembourg borrowers this case would never have been brought to court. Sadly, it also shows that consumer protection does not work well at the European level.
AUGUST 10TH 2015
WE ARE PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THAT OUR WEB SITE IS BACK IN OPERATION AFTER A PERIOD
OF 3 WEEKS. WE WERE HACKED BY INDIVIDUALS UNKNOWN DETERMINED TO KEEP US OUT OF
THE PUBLIC EYE. THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME THAT THIS HAS HAPPENED AND WE ARE
OBVIOUSLY A THREAT TO SOMEONE !
WE HAVE INSTALLED FURTHER SECURITY BARRIERS AND HOPE THAT THESE PROVE TO BE EFFECTIVE. THIS IS THE THIRD TIME THIS YEAR THAT WE HAVE HAD TO FIND A NEW HOST WILLING TO CARRY OUR SITE. HERE WE ONLY REPORT WHAT IS IN THE PRESS AND EVENTS AS THEY UNFURL IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN. WE JUST REPORT THE TRUTH.
WHAT IS IT THAT WE SHOW ON THIS SITE THAT IS SUCH A THREAT TO THOSE THAT ARE TRYING TO STEAL OUR PROPERTIES AND INVESTMENTS FROM US ? IS THE TRUTH SO TERRIFYING TO THOSE FACELESS PEOPLE ?
LATEST NEWS FOR THE VICTIMS JUNE 2015
In Paris the case against the following will hopefully be
opening in the Autumn:
Torben Bjerregaard JENSEN
LANDSBANKI LUXEMBOURG (STE)
Morten Juul NIELSEN
As soon as we have further information we will be posting it here
WELCOME BACK TO THE SITE YET AGAIN !! I THINK THAT SOMEBODY IS RATTLED BY OUR EXISTENCE ON THE INTERNET AND I JUST WONDER WHO THAT COULD BE.
We were hacked again this May 2015 and off line for a couple of weeks. Thanks to the stirling work of those behind the scenes we are back and not only that just in time to be able to report on the forthcoming trial that starts on June 15th in Paris !!!
More detail;s follow on that in the next few days.
It is starting to look like corruption is taking a bit of a hit at the moment, long may that continue.
WELCOME BACK TO THE SITE February 28th 2015
Our site was attacked this week and we were taken down for 3 days. This action was taken by persons unknown although the information we received was that it had been caused by “Eastern Europeans” whoever they might be.
We cannot definitely prove it but we have our suspicions that this action was conceived within the very country with whom we are currently in dispute regarding the illegal scam put together by Landsbanki Luxembourg prior to their demise in 2008.
As we are all aware the courts in France have already seen enough evidence to commence proceedings against those involved in this scam which may well lead to imprisonment of those indicted for fraud and money laundering. Luxembourg in their wisdom, and in particular the administrator and the judiciary to whom she answers say that they see no fraud.
Evidence leading to this forthcoming court case has been painstakingly put together over a considerable period of time which has given the Judge enough evidence to feel satisfied that there is a case to be answered. If he can see this, then why cannot those responsible in Luxembourg see it.
Furthermore from within Luxembourg Dr Fred Reinertz, the Président of PROTINVEST has last week issued a press release warning of the dangers of investing in his own country a full text of which can be read on our press release page. A damning indictment from a highly qualified independent expert within the financial industry. Another very serious affamation that “We see fraud and money laundering”.
“Taking Down” our site will not be enough to shut us up. We are here for the long haul and are not going to give up just as justice is finally about to be done. It has been a minor inconvenience but we are back.
WITH OUR THANKS TO A GREAT TEAM DURING 2014 WHO DESPITE BEING CHALLENGED AT EVERY TURN HAVE NOT LOST THEIR FAITH IN ULTIMATELY SHOWING TO THE WORLD THE CORRUPTION AND FRAUD SURROUNDING THE EQUITY RELEASE SCAM THAT ENTRAPPED HUNDREDS OF PENSIONERS IN EUROPE. THEIR BELIEF AND COMMITMENT WE KNOW WILL ULTIMATELY WIN THE CASE.
THERE IS NOW ENOUGH EVIDENCE LODGED TO PROVE THE FRAUD AND DECEIPT THAT HAS TAKEN PLACE AND 2015 SHOULD BE THE YEAR OF SUCCESS FOR US ALL. TAKE NOTE IN LUXEMBOURG, WE ARE NEVER GOING TO GIVE UP OUR FIGHT.
OUR LAWYERS ARE OUR HEROS
We thank our lawyers from the bottom of our hearts and hope that many other young lawyers will follow their courageous example and time-consuming determination to serve truth and justice over and above finance and greed and that with the help and strength of INTEGRITY walking hand in hand with LAW and JUSTICE, the world will find it easier to become a better place. A world which refuses to be devoured by the monsters of Finance and the weak and colluding partners in the Financial terrorism of which the world has become a victim.
We thank the wonderful man, BERNARD MAINGAIN, a great and heroic Belgian lawyer of immense courage and un-daunting determination and devotion to serving universal justice and justice for all equally, with compassion, understanding and punch.
A person one can never forget or who can be brushed aside.
A brilliant lawyer and a man who is always busy and travels to help people across the world but who finds time for us, even though we can do so little for him.
We thank the extraordinary BENJAMIN BODIG a Luxembourg star, shining bright and full of HOPE for Luxembourg and Europe, of whom both should be proud as he sets the tone and the example in the face of the double brick wall of indifference and desire to thwart his efforts which one can see he is purposefully surrounded by.
Has Maitre Bodig thrown his hand up in despair and given up? NO he has not.
He has given us courage as if he, standing within Luxembourg, can rise up and fight for justice for us, then so can we and for that we thank him from the bottom of our hearts.
We thank the brilliant MAXENCE LAUGIER a French Professor of Law, a writer, a courageous, kind and compassionate defender of justice and a man standing tall in quiet determination to bring forward the truth, the evidence, the facts and to help others learn, respect, understand and appreciate the essence of Law and Justice and the importance of upholding it and making it’s importance felt by Europe.
A lawyer who has shone through all those who seek glory and reward above truth and justice and to whom many dozens of French victims owe their peace of mind and gratitude.
We thank Juan ESPEJO , a Spanish lawyer from the Martinez-Echevarria law firm with dozens of Spanish victims to defend, who is profusely thanked by all for his enthusiasm and determination to see Justice is served in Luxembourg and in Spain and that the gravity of this case is fully understood by Europe as it affects us all.
We also wish to thank ANTONIO FLORES of Lawbird, Marbella Spain, who will never give up his impressive fight to see that victims of Financial crime and so many are also Equity Release victims are defended, helped and supported in a very generous way and we thank him and the Erva site for keeping us all informed as information prevents us from feeling isolated and alone.
We thank all the other lawyers who are helping us and they know who they are and all our supporters in Luxembourg, the U.K., Iceland, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Holland and the European Union supporters and all those who have contributed to our site and our Facebook with articles and cartoons and who share our fight for justice.
We all wish you good health, every happiness and success in 2015!
LATEST NEWS NOVEMBER 2014
We have just been advised that a further three fellow victims in Spain have sadly passed away leaving behind them the chaos that this evil administration is inflicting on us all.
Our thoughts go out to the relatives that they have left behind. I cannot imagine the anguish that they have been through hoping desperately that a good solution would be found in time.
I really hope that those left behind after this sad loss are able to deal with the problems that they will have to face. Rest assured we that remain are doing everything in our power to bring this terrible fraudulent scam to a close.
Unfortunately there are some extremely powerful people who are able to bend the law to their advantage, at present. I believe however that as events unfold over the next few weeks and months they will find that they do not have the support that they have enjoyed so far.
I have faith that with this disgraceful scam good will ultimately win over evil.
August 22nd 2013
There is a sad announcement to make as yet another of our friends and victims has sadly died.
We all join in offering our condolences to their family and friends and expressing our sorrow at their loss.
There are many us who have not survived this ordeal and our hearts and prayers go out to their families and friends who have to bear so much.
Out of respect for everyone, we will be putting a list up of all these people as they will not be forgotten and we will continue our fight for JUSTICE in their name and help their families to continue with the courage they need, knowing that they are not alone.
GROSS NEGLECT OF ADMINISTRATION OF FAILED LUXEMBOURG BANK and it’s consequences
Gross neglect and persecution of victims has led to terror and psychological torture of pensioners and others, leading to serious illness and death. This was CRUEL, UNNECESSARY and TRAGIC.
Following the sad announcement that we had lost yet another of our fellow victims, we decided to assemble a list of all those who are paying dearly with their health or lives and who have been fighting for justice from Luxembourg and the administrator for 5 years along with us all.
It is with regret that we have to inform you that 14 members of our group have died since the Landsbanki bankruptcy in 2008.
There are many others, also victims but outside this group, who have also died, such as John Armstrong, who will always be remembered with affection and respected for their courage.
Mrs T died on the 22nd July 2013, following the death of her husband in 2011. The anguish and stress of being under the threat of losing their home was too much for them both.
Mrs T. was desperate to resolve this matter whilst she was alive, but was not given the opportunity.
Mrs T. is survived by a 15 year old grandson who now is left with the problem and has been advised not to accept his inheritance.
Mr P has relocated permanently to the UK and is now in a care home due to the onset of Alzheimer’s aggravated by extreme stress. His daughter, Jenny, is now in contact with us for help and advise.
Mr and Mrs B. The psychological torture of being under the threat of losing the home they had worked so hard for, was also too much to bear for the B couple.
Mr and Mrs B divorced because of the pressure the Landsbanki Luxembourg failure put on their lives and Mr B was unable to cope with the Landsbanki situation, the lawyers and documents and became a chronic alcoholic.
Mrs. McC attempted suicide. The actions of the Landsbanki Luxembourg administration made Mrs McC feel that she was a total failure and this led to the serious depression.
With the help and support of her family, Mrs McC is now undergoing therapy and treatment for the severe depression brought on by the fear of losing her home and of seeing that the mis-selling and fraud in the Landsbanki Luxembourg bankruptcy was being completely ignored.
Sadly, others have not been able to withstand the enormous psychological pressures they have been put under in what should be the peaceful years of their lives and have also gone into severe depression, needing medication and there have been other suicide attempts.
This is why we must stick together and support each other.
Mr and Mrs McK have been forced to move out of their home and move back to the UK to be with their family as Mr McK had a stroke and has since been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Mr McK’s wife has developed Alzheimers due to the intolerable stress to which she has been subjected.
This situation would never have arisen if they were allowed to settle this matter several years ago.
Mr D is 91 years old and is losing his sight, also his health is deteriorating. Mr D HAS ONE MAJOR WISH AND AMBITION.
He would like to get a satisfactory conclusion from Mme Hamilius to the Landsbanki Luxembourg bankruptcy before he dies. This failed administration has recked the last years of Mr D’s life and those of hundreds of others of victims.
Mrs O’s husband died in June 2012. She has been left to sort out the devastation caused by the failure of Landsbanki Luxembourg and the failure of the administration to examine any of the criminal allegations under Luxembourg supervision for 5 years and now she herself has health problems.
Mr A is terminally ill and in a hospice in the UK. He moved back to the UK a few years ago because he was so depressed with the Landsbanki Luxembourg winding-up and wanted to move as far away as possible from this unbearable situation. Despite this move, the strain has led to terminal illness.
Mr O has lung cancer – diagnosed in November 2012. He is very ill and the doctors warn cancer patients about the damage excessive stress can have on treatment. It is however difficult for a person who has been under the threat of losing their home for 5 years, not to be under excessive and damaging stress.
This list continues in a later comment as the scandal of the Failure of the Landsbanki Luxembourg administration and the devastating effect it is having on hundreds of victims can no longer be kept in silence.
Luxembourg must take responsibility for the fact that many of these tragedies could have been avoided had the administrator acted in a proper manner and done her first duty as administrator making it her PRIORITY, as required, to examine the legality of the failed product and the Criminal allegations made by hundreds of victims for 5 years, which have been ignored.
GO TO LATEST NEWS AND COMMENT TO READ IN ENGLISH THE REPORT BY PROF ERIC BRIYS.
QUESTION: AS AN ADMINSTRATOR OF A FAILED COMPANY YOU ARE OBLIGED TO INVESTIGATE THE REASONS BEHIND THE COLLAPSE AND TO EXPOSE ANY WRONGDOINGS. THIS APPLIES TO ALL INSOLVENCIES. SO HAS THIS BEEN APPLIED IN THE CASE OF LANDSBANKI LU ? IT WOULD APPEAR NOT
BANKRUPTCY FRAUD WARNING SIGNS
1. Concealment of assets
2. Serial bankruptcy cases
3. Failure to keep usual business records
4. Incomplete or missing books and records
5. Conduct well outside ordinary business practices
6. Unusual depletion of assets shortly before the bankruptcy filing
7. Recent departure of debtor’s officers, directors or general partners
8. Unanswered questions or incomplete information on debtor’s schedules and statement of financial affairs
9. Frequent amendments to schedules, statements of financial affairs and monthly operating reports
10. Inconsistencies among recent financial statements, tax returns and debtor’s schedules and statements of financial affairs
11. Absence of knowledgeable officers to testify at meetings
15. Inflated salaries, payments of bonuses or cash withdrawals by officers, directors, shareholders or other insiders
16. Transfer of property to insiders, shareholders and relatives shortly before bankruptcy
17. Payoff of loans to directors, officers, shareholders, relatives or other insiders shortly before filing.
18. Transactions with non-debtor subsidiaries, parent companies or affiliated corporations owned by the same or related persons or entity.
FANTASTIC RESULT IN FRANCE
JUNE 2013, GO TO THE LAW TAB FOR THE LATEST VICTORY IN THE FRENCH COURTS.
When you have had a good look around this web site why not then also visit the Landsbanki Victims Govollux Facebook site.http://www.facebook.com/pages/Group-of-Victims-of-Landsbanki-Luxembourg-Govollux/605068499505134?ref=stream This is very informative and contains a wealth of information and news reports. Our aim is to make sure that our plight is in the public eye and that as many people as possible will see just how corrupt Luxembourg has been in its dealings.
Go to the MEMBERS area to read the harrowing story of just one couple who have fallen victim to this terrible scam. A scam created by evil people whose objective was to steal from those in our community who are THE MOST VULNERABLE.
Welcome to the Landsbanki Equity Release victims web site. Here you will be able to find easy access to press articles, responses from the Administrator, information from our lawyers, progress on our complaints in Paris, Luxembourg and Spain.
This site gives you an opportunity to form your own opinion in the case against Landsbanki Luxembourg. It is dedicated to the victims of the Landsbanki Luxembourg Equity Release scam that resulted in hundreds of pensioners facing the prospect of being swindled out of their homes and savings in England, France and Spain.
We feel that it should be made very clear at this stage that we are not wealthy individuals. With the exception of the well known singer in France who has fallen victim to this scam most of us entered into this scheme to try and make our pensions go a little further.
It has been suggested that we are all wealthy people complaining that our investments went wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth and already there have been cases of some of our associates being evicted from their homes and having to fall back on help from family and friends. This does not happen to wealthy people but it happens to us.
You will all have heard about the victims of LANDSBANKI ICESAVE but little is said about the forgotten victims of LANDSBANKI LUXEMBOURG who are mostly elderly retired pensioners who fell victim to the LANDSBANKI EQUITY RELEASE SCHEME. Sold as a win win investment for the retired.
The victims have collected documents, information, facts ,videos, all true since the demise of Landsbanki Luxembourg. The emphasis of this site is to give access to understanding this complex case and assistance through the minefield of court documents, newspaper articles, blogs, International reports and links to other Equity Release cases.
As victims we currently have two criminal proceedings in place one in Luxembourg and one in Paris for mis-selling, fraud, unlicensed soliciting, abuse of security level ratio and manipulation of clients funds.
We invite you to send in any information that you have gathered over the last few years that might be of interest to our members and that might further our cause to prove our case conclusively. All communication will be handled with the utmost discretion.
If you too have found yourself a victim of this scam and have not had contact with other victims please feel free to contact us.
If you are a member of the press and would like further information do not hesitate to contact us through our email address