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The Spanish Lawyer Online

Antonio Flores’ Blog

Thoughts about laws and regulations which affect foreigners in Spain


Archive for October, 2011

Restructuring & Recovery Companies Should Start by Their Cupboards

October 30th, 2011

It sometimes happens that, when you start off a new business venture where reputation is considered to be crucial, you need to start off with a slate cleaner than clean. Of course, it is quite possible that one has left a few debts unpaid, particularly with lending entities (who cares, really!) and perhaps a bit of social security or taxes, as they are the last to the get paid, generally.

What is just defies prudency and common sense is starting off a business consisting on sorting out other people’s real estate problems when you have a few skeletons in the cupboard that are rattling like a dildo in a biscuit tin.

Because, this is exactly what is happening with Restructuring & Recovery Consulting Group, fronted by Mark Farber. The story (PDF)(the real one might I say) is actually one that he has twisted to make it one of his case histories, the truth being far from what he claims it to be.

Indeed, the project was located in Inland Andalusia, in Casarabonela to be accurate, it was certainly close to 20 hectares, and changes in regional planning laws did render the project unacceptable (no mention of the crisis here nor running out of cash). And this is as far you can stretch the truth, as the rest is a load of imaginative B.S.

Not only was there no proper project in place, but also, nobody proceeded to immediately discuss the situation with local and regional planning authorities, and no agreement was reached that re-zoning would be acceptable if the project was repositioned as a tourist oriented resort rather than a straight residencial developement.

And, on top of the pile, you get the worst lie of all: a large amount of money was also owed to a local savings bank which had already begun the process of recovery. Mark, it is Lawbird’s clients who are owed the money, and they are a British couple and not a local savings bank, unless they have morphed into some rural lender in the last couple of weeks. And they are owed close to €1,300,000 which seems they will never get if, as your lawyers say, the company that owns the cortijo (Rural Excellence S.L.) will be swallowed by the bankrupt Ecur Constructora Urbanizadora S.L., which owns I assume also part of Restructuring & Recovery Consulting Group, given your statements.

And finally, you have not been instrumental in negotiating with the savings bank to refinance the debt, because there is no such thing. If any, you have been instrumental in keeping my clients like a mushroom, in the dark and being fed bullshit. And unpaid. Oh, and also, killing a good number of avocado trees by failing to water them…

See you in court!






Litigation, Property

The (Lack of) Values of Nordea Bank

October 10th, 2011

Clients Appreciate our Nordic Values. They differentiate us from our competitors.

Anne-Lise Zahl Sørensen, NORDEA BANK.


This supremacist statement embedded in Nordea’s INTERNATIONAL PRIVATE BANKING in LUXEMBOURG prospectus is not only an insult to Nordic people, but also probably the last straw for many close to losing everything (everything as in the Oxford English Dictionary), to the bank in question. Not even the Nigerian scam has wreaked so much havoc on one single individual as has the Nordic “in-house specialist and experienced portfolio managers”.

But the infamy of this statement and the severity of the insult it projects over the victims of the Nordea Bank Equity Release could be insignificant compared with what could happen if the Spanish authorities (Spanish Anticorruption Prosecutor and the National Tax Office) picks up on one aspect of the programme that the US Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in a case brought against the promoters of a similar scheme, identified as being

conspiracy to defraud the United States and to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and tax evasion, by promoting fraudulent scheme…additionally the Hirmers attempted to strip the equity out of one of their homes by granting a bogus mortgage to a Panamanian nominee entity they controlled…the use of abusive trust schemes and fraudulent debt elimination tactics intended to conceal income from the IRS isn’t tax planning; it’s criminal activity. There is no secret formula that can eliminate a person’s tax obligations…today’s verdict reinforces our commitment to every American taxpayer that we will identify and prosecute those who promote illegal financial transactions designed to evade the payment of taxes.”

Mortgages, Scams ,

Lawyers Professional Indemnity: Lawyers No Longer Untouchable

October 4th, 2011

Now that money is scarce, legal instructions that could have otherwise been fulfilled, or at least carried out with some diligence to accommodate a more or less agreeable solution, are finding their way to recourse via professional indemnity (PI) obligations and ultimately, the insurance in charge of covering lawyers’ negligence. Redress against negligent lawyers, which is extendable to Notaries, Registrars and Procurators, is not new and there is substantial precedent that gives us an idea of how Courts are viewing the different cases.

Instances of negligence are varied but the following can be identified, some to do with Court action and others, to the incompetence of the lawyer in respect of applicable law or procedures:

  • Missing procedural deadlines or time limitations to bring an action (called Diary Oversights). For example, failure to respond to a claim prior to the deadline set by the Civil Procedural Act or, file an action in tort within 1 year from when the incident occurred, thereby losing the opportunity to obtain a Court ruling on the matter. A clear example is one where lawyer fails to advise the family of a person who drowned, of their right to bring an action in tort against the owners of the swimming pool (within 12 months).
  • Not filing an appeal, full stop. The lawyer was not late in filing, he simply did not file.
  • Not advising a client of the non-feasibility of an action due to expiration of his right to bring a claim: particularly relevant in relation to the award of Court costs, which can be substantial and, obviously avoidable, had the lawyer advised properly on the opportunity not to bring an action.
  • Not claiming “lost profit” on a judicial action when it clearly lent itself for bringing such petition: a good example to cite is that of the sole-trader owner of a tractor that was destroyed in an accident caused by the other party. Although the lawyer filed a claim for damages to the tractor he missed the opportunity to claim for non-realized profits as a result of the sole-traders inability to work.
  • Inadequate technical approach to a legal matter and continuous string of errors, also technical, that provoked a multiplicity of procedures, making it impossible for the client to obtain legal redress.
  • Rather laconic exposé of the alleged responsibilities of the defendant and incorrect display of evidentiary material, showing little understanding of the case itself. The lawyer, it seems, had other things in mind, or nothing at all, when dealing with this case.

 And so, what happened to the lawyers in these cases? Well, in all of them Courts determined that the lawyers’ negligence warranted compensation that was to be calculated by reference to the “loss of opportunity”, which is not easily measured but for reference to conjecture, best known as Absolute Probability Judgment, where the Court is faced with the assessment and quantification of the error, and its impact on a result had the error not occurred: in other words, what would have the chances of a claimant been had he been properly represented? Common Law here is probably far ahead as it resolves these issues under what is deemed a judgment of feasibility of the case, which requires a study into the merits of claimants arguments’. In this jurisdiction, it is known as the Case-Within-a-Case Rule, according to which, a legal-malpractice claimant must show that, but for the lawyer’s negligence, the claimant would have won the case underlying the malpractice action.

And what about time to bring an action? According to all but one Court rulings, legal negligence or, better named, contractual malpractice, arises from contract, and not tort, which would make a huge difference: 15 years vs. 1 year.



Legal Practise , , , , ,