Monday, 26 December 2011

The Christmas Speech

Juan Carlos, King of Spain, gave his Christmas Speech yesterday, under the scandal of his Son in Law, the Duke of Palma and his activities. The tone of the speech was that, in Spain, everyone is equal under the law.
A Spanish blogger, writing as 'Voto en Blanco', begs to disagree:
'La corrupción en España no es, como algunos afirman, una concatenación de casos aislados, sino toda una epidemia nacional alimentada desde los cuarteles del poder y los sectores más poderosos, como si hubieran querido esquilmar la sociedad y exprimirla hasta destruirla'...
'Corruption in Spain is not, as some claim, a number of isolated cases, but an entire national epidemic fed from the headquarters of power and by the most powerful, as if they wanted to gouge and squeeze society so as to destroy it'.
Will things change with the new Government of Rajoy? At least, in political circles, you could be forgiven for saying that you know where you are with the conservatives in matters of the wallet - while it has always fallen to the socialists to surprise you when it comes to the temporary relinquishment of their duty as 'men of the people'.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Victims of Property Corruption



As Phase One of the Spanish Government Property Road Show nears completion Keith Rule, coordinator of the Finca Parcs Action Group ( and organiser of the Bank Guarantees In Spain Petition ( which mainly consists of British victims of the Spanish Property Scandals, is challenging official figures recently quoted by Spanish Housing Minister, Sra. Beatriz Corredor.

On 4 May 2011 for over 6 hours Keith led a group of protestors outside the Spanish Embassy in London, while inside, to a group of specially invited corporate guests, Jose Blanco and Beatriz Corredor attempted to ‘Highlight the strengths of the Spanish Economy and the transparency and legal security of buying a property in Spain’. The protestors were denied a meeting with Blanco or Corredor but were eventually granted a 45 minute discussion with two Government officials and an Embassy Representative during which they "asked questions, made notes and took paperwork" without guaranteeing they could resolve the problems.

However Keith feels it is clear from the attitude of the Government officials present at the meeting that they are in denial and are not prepared to accept the number of people affected by property scandals in Spain far exceeds their very conservative ‘official’ estimates.

In response to the protests Beatriz Corredor said "There are 850,000 Britons living in Spainand these problems apply to less than 1% of those".

So according to Corredor there are less than 8,500 Britons affected by all property issues inSpain including Land Grab, Ley de Costas, Illegal Properties, Demolition and Off-Plan Bank Guarantee Issues.

Keith is challenging those figures, he says “The many thousands, including myself, who paid their off-plan deposits in good faith and are now experiencing Bank Guarantee problems are totally unaccounted for and not included in any property register. Therefore they cannot possibly be among Sra. Corredor’s figure of 850,000 Britons ‘Living in Spain’ as they were denied that opportunity due to the fact their properties were either not completed or in many cases not even started. There are hundreds of half finished or abandoned developments all over Spain on which purchasers are at serious risk of losing their off-plan deposits due to Developers and Banks failing to issue or honour the legally required Bank Guarantees”.

He continues, “We know there are around 100 purchasers on the Finca Parcs development with Bank Guarantee issues and for example on the abandoned Grupo Trampolin developments in Murcia alone we hear figures of around 2000 buyers who paid deposits and now have Bank Guarantee issues. As there is no official register of deposits paid by buyers of off-plan property it is difficult to gain an accurate figure of exactly the number of buyers at risk. But one thing we know for sure is that they are all additional those 8,500 with problems as quoted by Sra. Corredor”.

According to Spanish Law, LEY 57/68, ‘The money paid in advance by buyers of off-plan purchases must be received though a Bank or Savings Bank and deposited in a Special Account separate from all other funds held by the developer’. The second article of the Law states that ‘The Bank or Savings Bank that receives the off-plan deposit must, under its responsibility, demand the issuing of the corresponding Bank Guarantee’

However Keith says “Developers and banks failed to issue all the legally required Bank Guarantees and in many cases where they were issued the Banks are now refusing to honour them. Much of the money paid in advance by purchasers is totally unaccounted for and in a ‘black hole’ as many Banks allowed developers to withdraw the off-plan deposits and use the funds for purposes other than the construction of the property which is contrary to LEY 57/68”.

Beatriz Corredor says Britons will only be refunded "if the courts order it".

In direct response Keith says “it is totally unacceptable for Sra. Corredor to force all those innocent victims of Bank Guarantee abuse into expensive legal action through the already congested Spanish Courts”.

His Finca Parcs Action Group has been forced into exactly this situation and had to
instruct their litigation team at Costa Luz Lawyers to file a very expensive Lawsuit against Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo (CAM) and the developer Cleyton GES SL for their failure to issue the legally required Bank Guarantees on the abandoned Finca Parcs development. The Lawsuit for the first 47 group members was submitted to the court earlier this year. However, due to slow nature of the Spanish Legal system he estimates it may take 12-18 months for the group to receive a First Instance court decision.

Keith says “There are thousands of simple bank guarantee cases similar to ours where purchasers can prove their funds were paid to the Banks funding the developers, yet the Banks failed to protect the money in a Special Account and failed to issue the legally required Bank Guarantees. There are also many other cases where purchasers did receive Bank Guarantees and the developer has ceased trading or failed to provide the property on time as per the purchase contract, yet the Bank still refuses to honour the Bank Guarantee. Even these purchasers are then forced into expensive and lengthy legal action”.

He continues “Why is it necessary for these relatively simple Bank Guarantee cases to be subjected to the inadequate Spanish Legal System? The Banco de España is the Supervisor of the Spanish Banking System - they stated in their 2008 Annual Report that some banks ‘had not acted with due diligence’ - yet the Banco de España does nothing to ensure these banks act in accordance with Spanish Law, LEY 57/68”.

In the UK relatively simple cases such as this would be dealt with by the Financial Ombudsman Service and only in the more complex cases would it be necessary for buyers to resort to the courts.

The Bank Guarantees In Spain Petition is calling on the Spanish Government to set up 'fast track courts' or an Ombudsman to deal with the thousands of outstanding Bank Guarantee cases. It also calls for the Banco de España to be given powers, surprisingly lacking at present, to review cases and force the banks that it supervises to issue refunds.

Spanish President Zapatero said on 6 July 2010 in the European Parliament:

"My country is based on the rule of law and it respects and ensures that laws are respected. The courts are responsible for the application of law. We stand shoulder to shoulder with those people who, maybe, have had the wool pulled over their eyes (deceived) in the Spanish Property Sector" – but Keith says, “What has he done to address the issues?”

Sra. Corredor - when previewing the current Property Road Shows said: "Come here calmly and trust in the system that we have and the transparency we provide".

There are thousands of victims of corruption in the Spanish Property Sector for whom there was and still is no transparency.

The online Bank Guarantees In Spain Petition is gathering detailed evidence relating to corrupt Developers and negligent Estate Agents, Banks & Lawyers. This evidence, together with the full text of the Petition will be presented to the Spanish Government and other official bodies inSpain and the UK later this year. So if you are at risk of losing your Spanish Off-Plan Property deposit please go to and join the Petition.

Over 1200 innocent victims of the Spanish Housing Market many of whom have found absolutely no justice despite suffering years of expensive and stressful legal action through the inadequate Spanish Justice System have also recently signed Ruth Genda’s online ‘Stop The Spanish Property Road Show’ Petition which is designed as an open letter to UK MP, David Lidington, Minister for Europe.

The only way Spain can rebuild confidence in its battered Property Sector is if the Spanish Government takes notice of the Petitions and Protests and begins to address the serious injustices that have occurred over the past 10 years and puts measures in place to ensure Banks, Developers, Agents and Lawyers can never be allowed to have such a blatant disregard for Spanish Law ever again.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

¿Porqué No Hay Democracia Real en España?

Porque en la democracia española la corrupción es generalizada.

Puede que si decimos corrupción usted sólo piense en Gürtel, pero por ilustrar diremos que en 2009 la justicia española tenía abiertas 730 investigaciones judiciales por corrupción. El oro y la plata se lo llevaban, lógicamente, PSOE –con 264 causas– y PP –con 200–. En las pasadas elecciones municipales y autonómicas concurrieron en las listas electorales cientos de políticos imputados en casos de corrupción –aquí hay una lista con los cincuenta más significativos–. Además, la corrupción no son sólo prevaricación y escándalos urbanísticos. Este año 2011, por poner otro ejemplo de corrupción, hemos sabido que el 20% de los nuevos altos funcionarios del Estado es familiar de otro alto funcionario. Aprovecho para reseñar, y no quiero perder la ocasión de invitarles a que se toquen los cojones, que lo que dice al respecto el autor del estudio es que ‘una hipótesis es que los hijos de los altos miembros de la administración son más competentes que el resto’.

¿Esto es así en todas partes?

No, lógicamente. No es más limpio el que más limpia sino el que menos ensucia. El Índice de Percepción de Corrupción publicado por International Transparency en 2010 señalaba que los países menos corruptos del mundo eran Dinamarca –que también el país de más alta felicidad subjetiva–, Nueva Zelanda –que tiene uno de los PIB per cápita más altos del mundo–, Singapur –por la razón poco espectacular de que tiene una de las leyes anticorrupción más severas– y Finlandia –el país con el mejor sistema educativo del mundo–. De los diez primeros, cuatro eran escandinavos. Diremos, como posdata, que España figuraba en el puesto 30 a nivel mundial y en el 16 entre los países europeos.

¿A quién beneficia todo esto?

Pues imagínenselo. A principios de año PP y PSOE cerraron un acuerdo parlamentario para evitar que la ley les impidiese incluir imputados en sus listas. El votante, aún así, podría sortearlo no votando al candidato imputado y sí a los demás, pero como se ha dicho las listas son cerradas y si quieres votar a un partido, tienes que votar también a sus imputados. La propuesta de reforma de la ley electoral elevada al parlamento el año pasado hubiera acabado con las listas cerradas, pero una vez más fue bloqueada por PSOE y PP.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

A Good Answer

A post on Almanzora Forum regarding Spain's regular cries of how those pesky Brits bought homes here knowing them to be illegal... but cheap!
Can they name these people who knowingly bought an illegal house with no respect for the country and culture? After all since 2008 they have supposedly been reviewing each house on a case by case basis in their words.Who are these people, I haven´t met one yet. If my other half had said to me " we are going to buy this house, it´s illegal but keep stumm, we can build wherever we want and ignore the planning laws" I would have had him certified and committed to an insane asylum. I came from a beautiful 4 bed detached house in England, I had financial and legal security, full professional employment, pension,health care, why would I throw it up to buy an illegal, alegal, irregular or any other insecure type of house? Spain´s not that good ! Ok it has sunshine but so has France, Italy, Greece, even Cornwall on occasions! These people are corrupt, ignorant, racist, bigots. They have bankrupted their country. We have spent hundreds of thousands here on property, cars, furniture, day to day living, earnt honestly by working in industry for 30 years each. If they want to knock our houses down or criminalise respectable retired self sufficient people, why not get on with it, go ahead, see how it improves their economy and their children´s employment prospects. I will make sure no one I can influence will ever buy a property here until the whole sorry mess is sorted out.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Telegraph Ex-pat Spanish Planning Scandal

A new support for owners of 'illegal homes' in Spain comes from the Telegraph with a page called 'Telegraph Expat Spanish Planning Scandal'.

Telegraph Expat is launching a campaign in support of the hundreds of thousands of British and other expats who have fallen victim to urban corruption and the confused state of property law in Spain. If you have been affected by the problem, please add a pin documenting your story to our Expat Directory ( under the pin category 'Illegal Spanish Property'. Over time, this will generate an interactive map which will document and expose the full extent of the problem.

Friday, 1 April 2011

The Corruptódromo

Corruption is becoming a popular topic in Spain, after the Gürtel case in Valencia, Madrid and elsewhere, a bugbear that is plaguing the Partido Popular, has now received a proper balance from the PSOE's own ERE pension scandal in Andalucía. Where will it all end?. The 'No Les Votes' site (following from the Ley de Sinde anti-copying law, many Spaniards will no longer support the three parties who supported the law - after pressure from Washington - namely, the PP, PSOE and CiU) has now produced the Corruptódromo - a map of Spain with the main political corruption cases marked.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Political Corruption

The Attorney General Cándido Conde-Pumpido says that there are investigations into 730 cases of political corruption across Spain, with the PSOE leading with 264 cases, followed by the PP with 200. Other cases coming from smaller parties or, in 72 cases, for accused public officials without apparent political affiliations. The story comes from the left wing Público newspaper.

Monday, 7 March 2011


The corruption in the real-estate sector - perhaps best enshrined by the goings on in Marbella over the past decade - has now given birth to a series on Spanish TV (Canal Plus) called Crematorio. There's a trailer on YouTube:
Russian lolly, greed, bent councillors, drugs, violence, torrid TV sex, it's all there.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Candidatos Imputados

En estos momentos, los partidos políticos están cerrando sus candidaturas para las elecciones municipales y autonómicas de Mayo, pero dichas listas podrían incluir cientos de políticos corruptos.

En lugar de presentar candidatos con una trayectoria responsable de servicio publico, los líderes de algunos partidos están utilizando vacíos legales y ambigüedades para incluir imputados por delitos asociados con la corrupción. Hay poderosos intereses económicos que permiten que dichos políticos sigan en el poder, pero si dejamos claro que solo les votaremos si limpian sus listas e impulsan medidas contundentes contra la corrupción, podríamos forzarles a combatir esta plaga y sus desastrosos efectos sobre la vida pública, la economía y el medio ambiente.

No tenemos mucho tiempo. Enviemos un mensaje claro y atronador a los partidos políticos: no queremos candidatos corruptos en las listas electorales. Firma abajo para unirte a este urgente petición por unas elecciones limpias y una acción eficaz contra la corrupción, y reenvíaselo a todos tus conocidos. El viernes, antes de la presentación de sus candidaturas, entregaremos las firmas directamente a los principales partidos, y a través de los medios de comunicación durante toda la campaña electoral.

A petition to sign against corrupt politicians on the political lists for May. There's a part in English on the website, although it seems more concerned with Rupert Murdoch.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Map of Corruption

Both the PP and the PSOE have said that they will 'exclude names from the election lists' of people under investigation for corruption. Both parties, according to El País, have happily thrown accusations of corruption at each other - and, of course, elsewhere when it suits - but 'maintain at the same time a moral ambiguity' towards their own.
An editor at El País writes this to a correspondent of mine: 'It is my personal belief that the non-functioning of Spain'’s justice system is the country'’s greatest problem and is at the root of almost all evil as it propagates a sense of impunity among wrongdoers and a cynical if-you-can'’t-beat-‘em-join-‘em attitude among the rest of society'.”
Defending some fellow-party candidates, the Secretary for Municipal Politics Antonio Hernando says, 'there's no corruption when nobody puts his hand into the till to transfer the money to his pocket'.
The General Secretary of the PP is Dolores de Cospedal. She says that the party has zero tolerance for corruption, but that 'there are some people under investigation, but then the accusations are found to be null and void'.
The PP is currently suffering investigations of massive corruption in Valencia and Madrid in something called the 'Caso Gürtel'.
So it seems that, by the time some of those better-known cases of corruption in high places are finally sentenced, the players can reasonably expect to be dead.
Here's an interesting map of political corruption (just the heavier stuff) in Spain.
In similar news, the two parties have agreed not to disallow 'transfugas' or 'turncoats' from their lists.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Tips on House Buying in Spain (Wikihow)

'More unlucky foreign home buyers, mostly Germans and British, choosing property in Spain are in danger from government corruption scandals and building created without valid permits. This corruption threatens homes, mortgages and other assets. To avoid these kinds of problems in the future, when moving to this lovely area of the world, consider the following tips. How should the average Joe looking to buy a place in the sun avoid the all-too-real threat of seeing their dream bulldozed in years to come'?

This site is worth a look (but ignore the google-ads while reading - you can always check them later)!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Spanish Property Auction Corruption

A brief insight into suspected corruption within Spanish property auctions within the region of Valencia and possibly throughout Spain.