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Home > Uncategorized > The Equity Release Victims Association Up and Running

The Equity Release Victims Association Up and Running

September 24th, 2011

The Equity Release Victims Association (ERVA) – ( is now up and running. Having been formally incorporated last Wednesday, through a Marbella Notary Public, it has, among its aims, denouncing the magnitude of the infringements committed by a number of banks, mostly Scandinavian who, in clear breach of applicable legislation (regulatory, consumer protection, civil, banking, financial, and not the least, ethical), devised a tax-evading scheme that would be offered to pensioners to profit from them, using the illicit excuse that it was suicidal not to have a mortgage registered against their properties.

The ERVA will be formally filing claims with the appropriate Government offices, requesting formally not only that these products are banned in future but also, that the banks that offered them are disciplined in accordance to the seriousness of the offences committed. Of particular importance are:

  • Denunciation at the Spanish Prosecution Office (Fiscalia), requesting that a full investigation is conducted into the alleged tax-evasion proposition that constituted the main selling feature of these Equity Release schemes, and consequently, the well-defined target market this scheme was aimed at: financially conservative and vulnerable pensioners owners of an unencumbered retirement homes. Equally, of great significance is the financial state these schemes have left countless numbers of victims, as well as the major implications for their state of mental health and well-being  (typically, the infliction of mental and emotional anguish of being deprived of their life-savings ultimately and more immediately, a roof to live under). Even if these banks are no longer offering these obnoxious products, the writ will specifically request that the Spanish Prosecution Office, by application of article 26 of the 34/1988 Publicity Act, in relation to article 29, pursues the cessation action to prevent them from offering them in future.
  • Denunciation at the financial and insurance regulators (Comisión Nacional Mercado de Valores and Dirección General de Seguros), and the Bank of Spain (Banco de España), who will be requested that a thorough study is made into the validity of a contract of Equity Release, not approved for use in Spain under 2007 Reverse Mortgages Act and prior to its enactment, by the uses and customs of banking practices (as the Spanish equity release equivalent was not regulated formally until then although, it was specifically described as a product to allow asset “rich” pensioners access to this wealth, all the while having full guarantees of living in the property for the rest of their lives). The ERVA will specifically request that disciplinary and exemplary fines are imposed on the infringing banks, inclusive of a temporary suspension of their activities within Spain.
  • Denunciation at the Regional and National Consumers Association, to obtain a ruling condemning the publicity as false or deceptive advertising and fining these entities proportionally, in accordance to article 36 of the 26/ 1984 Consumers and Users Protection Act, applicable prior to 2007. Given the impact, relevance and geographical scope of the mis-selling of Equity Release schemes, the ERVA should request that the infractions committed by these banks are deemed “very serious” and the highest possible fines imposed (from €600,000 to 5 times the amount of the product mis-sold, as well the closing of the branch offices of the offending banks wherefrom the products were sold, for up to 5 years).

The list of proposed actions is not exhaustive and may include other proposals in the countries of origin of the offending banks.

About Antonio Flores

Antonio Flores is the head lawyer at Lawbird, a Spanish law firm specialised in property and litigation. More on .


  1. Ian Sherdley
    September 24th, 2011 at 16:12 | #1

    Antonio, thanks for all your efforts in getting the Equity Release Victims Association up and running, your dedication, leadership and inspiration is a comfort to us all, wihout doubt your counselling and support at your own expense will give people hope where once there was none. If only the banks had a heart and soul, do you think they would have sold this crazy scheme to their own parents,I doubt it very much. They have caused so much stress to their victims. All the banks including Dansbank, Nordea, Nycredit Landsbanki, Rothschild Sydbank and the others should take note the the ERVA will chase them down with whatever legal means we have and bring them to justice, of course there is another option for them and that is to hold their hands up, say sorry that we have made a monumental error and settle all their debts.

  2. September 24th, 2011 at 19:13 | #2

    As a victim of this Scandinavian bank robbery of my health wealth and happiness, in that order, I feel particularly offended by the continuation of the Danske Bank to chase and hunt me for repossession of my home. The Account Manager who was losing money all the time was continually harassing me to reduce the selling price of my home to pay the loss of money they had incurred in their trading of my money to such a level that I would have nothing left and even end up owing the Bank money. In my case the Danske Bank put an order to the local Court to sell my property. This was prevented at the eleventh hour by the good offices of Antonio Flores who convinced the Court that my case was criminal which cancelled the enforced auction. So be warned the banks are going for your money and your property if not in your lifetime then from your heirs.

  3. Celia Gardner
    December 13th, 2011 at 21:18 | #3

    I am one of the many victims of an Equity Release Plan done through Tim Locke of Graydon Associates, Javea & now with Swiss Life/BFI. All the details etc. were sent to Salvador at Cremades Calvo-Sotelo, Marbella in October 2010 & his opinion that I had a valid cause to take the matter to court was received by me in November 2010. Power of Attorney was granted to them early this year.
    Despite many promises that my case would be prepared for court in July,then September, nothing has been done & I was told by Luis in October that when Salvador had finished a complicated case, he would attend to mine & not to contact them again as they would contact me. I have not heard anything further & they are not replying to my e-mails. The 5 year plan is up in March 2012. I am 71 years old & having to work to pay the bills for the upkeep of the house which I can’t sell because
    of the negative equity that has arisen. I have not had any investment figures or indeed, any correspondence from Swiss Life for 2 years. Can you help me please!
    Kind regards
    Celia Gardner (widow)

  4. April 4th, 2012 at 17:56 | #4

    Mi denuncia es contra Landsbanki Luxemburgo y Offshore Money Managers de
    Recibí un correo de Gwilym Rhys Jones informándome de la demostración del
    del día 9 de Abril en Málaga. No sé quien leerá este comentario, pero me gustaría hablar con el Sr.Antonio Flores para comentar mi caso. Traté de llamarle esta mañana y estaré esperando poder contactar con él.Desgraciadamente no podré estar presente pues tengo que ir a Viena para una reunión importante en ONUDI (Org. de Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo Industrial) y volveré la semana próxima.He estado antes con IURA pero al cabo de pagar 8.000 Euros por nada,me representa un amigo
    el Abogado Manuel Rodriguez Brincones de Fuengirola en forma de Pro Bono.
    tel. 607 840 533.De todas formas trataré de ponerme en contacto antes de salir de viaje.Buena suerte para todos Uds.con Hacienda.
    Karen Hellemaa

  5. Hendrika
    October 10th, 2012 at 17:50 | #5

    Celia Gardner

    What happended further with your claim with Salvador at Cremades??

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