Expat pensioners have won a legal battle against a private bank that tried to take their home after tricking them into taking out mortgage to finance supposedly low risk investments.
Barry and Marion Joyce, both in their 70s, were under threat of losing their dream retirement home on the Costa del Sol, Spain.
But they won a reprieve in their 14 year legal battle when a court in Torremolinos rejected the bid to possess the property by bankers NM Rothschild & Sons and subsidiary Credit Select Series Four.
In 2006, the couple took out a €227,000 mortgage with the bank to invest the money raised with an insurance company with the aim of providing an income.
€55,000 wiped off investment in a year
However, the investments failed to perform, leaving them owing tens of thousands of euros to the bank in mortgage repayments.
Within 12 months, the couple saw nearly €55,500 wiped off the value of their investment.
In 2016, the bank demanded the couple repay €302,000 and threatened to take their home.
Now, not only has the court wiped out the debt, but agreed the couple can keep a €15,000 euro bonus given to them when they signed up for the deal. Rothschild was also ordered to repay any money handed over by the couple.
100 more claims ready for the courts
The ruling has opened the floodgates for claims against Rothschild, with lawyers announcing at least another 100 cases are in the pipeline behind the delighted Joyces.
Their investment with Rothschild was called the Spanish Investment Retirement and Income Mobilisation Plan (SITIR) and was targeted at retired expats who owned their homes outright.
The bank offered a mortgage of up to 75% of the value of a property and agreed to put the money in low-risk investments to generate a steady income.
Rothschild is a major private bank and wealth management firm with more than 3,500 staff in 50 offices worldwide.