PRIVATE banking company Banco Popular has been ordered to return €58,000, plus legal fees, to an unnamed British couple who paid the money as a deposit for a house in Casares that was never built.
The property developer in question is Aifos, one of the symbols of Spain’s construction boom which was implicated in the infamous Operation Malaya anti-corruption scandal, and declared insolvent in 2009.
A purchase agreement between the couple and Aifos was signed in 2004, for a €168,000 villa which was to be constructed in the Hacienda Casares residential estate.
The Court of First Instance 18, based in Madrid, has ruled that Banco Popular is responsible for guaranteeing the funds. This is not an exceptional case, since late last year around 100 families submitted lawsuits against 20 banks which had received money from Aifos, currently in liquidation, for houses which have not been completed.
An estimated 3,000 people are thought to have been affected, with the financial institutions urged to assume responsibility, because both they and the developer failed to provide endorsed guarantees for money paid in advance, as is obliged by law.
An average of €50,000 per family is owed, plus statutory interest.