Tuesday, 9 July 2013

How a prominent politician got a flat on the cheap

ANDALUCÍA The Junta de Andalucía is run by a leftist coalition of Socialists (PSOE) and the United Left (IU, Izquierda Unida, of which the Communist Party is a major shareholder ... ooops, we mean a large part.)  That is why the President is from PSOE and the next-in-line, that is, the First Vice-President as he's titled, is from IU. The latter's name is Diego Valderas, and his name is mud, too, among his party's grass roots, as we will show. Among his other accomplishments, Valderas was one of the big guns behind Andalucía's controversial laws against evictions, which is a Leftist accomplishment indeed. But it turns out that, back in 1995 (well before 'his' law was even mooted), he took advantage of what until recently was common practice with Spanish banks, which were allowed to do just about anything with their clients and the clients' money. Quite recently there has been the cláusual suelo scandal that is still unravelling - but the Valderas scandal touches on something most expats simply don't understand: if you can't pay your mortgage, you hand the keys back to the bank - but you still owe the remaining mortgage. (Relax, this is changing, very slowly.) So here's what recently came to light:>>>
Valderas's pueblo is Bollullos Par del Condado, in Huelva, where he had a flat. According to Property Registry records, he bought the flat opposite in 1995, directly from the Caja de Ahorros El Monte after the entity had evicted the previous owner for non-payment of the mortgage.

It now turns out that the previous owner, M.J.A., had offered the flat to Valderas for some 8m pesetas (approx.€49,000) when the eviction procedure got under way, a sum which would have paid off the mortgage and cleared his debt on it. 

Valderas - by then President of the Parliament of Andalucía after 15 years as Mayor of Bollullos - refused the direct purchase, but did buy it at the court auction that followed. The procedure included two bid opportunities that were not taken up. The third one, though, came from El Monte itself as the only bidder and the debt holder. They paid five million pesetas (about €31,000).

The Property Registry at Almonte says that Diego Valderas and his wife paid €31,102.38 on may 25, 1995, the same amount the building society paid for it, and three million pesetas (€18,000) less than the original offer from the evicted owner, who had to move to his in-laws' home, where he still lives.

Good business, it can easily be argued, but what is not yet clear is why there was no difference between the price paid by El Monte to the court, and that paid by Valderas. The matter is being looked into, we're told.

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