The Supreme Flip Flops

SPN Supreme CourtNo, it’s not about footwear but about the behaviour of the Supreme Court of the land’s behaviour over mortgage Stamp Duties.

Six months or so ago, the Supreme Court, gathering an air of solemnity, pronounced that bank customers could bugger off where mortgage stamp duties went, only a mere two days ago announce the opposite; i.e., the banks should have paid stamp duties and that clients had the right to claim the money back.

There followed stunned reactions from both the banks, who ran around screaming as their shares on the stock exchange plunged, and the Government, who were at a loss for something to say other than *gasp!*

A mere 24 hours later, the Supreme Court, renown for having the speed of a striking sloth and the reactions of a dead rattlesnake, announced that it was calling an Extraordinary General Meeting of all its 31 members to confirm or reject its amazing, all-singing-and-dancing findings. In other words, the three judges of the tribunal had suffered an attack of sudden bowel loosening and needed to cover their backs, after an onslaught of phone calls from the omnipotent banking sector.

Naturally, consumer protection societies (Facua and Adicae) were not impressed, describing the ‘contortionist’ behaviour of the Supreme Court as “scandalous and as an “incomprehensible fiasco,” bless their annoyed cotton socks.

Now the Spanish super judges have already had their protruding ears flicked – several times – by the European Supreme Court, the last being over the cláusula suelo, which was a bit of banking fun where if the interest rates went up, suck it up, and if they went down below a certain level, the banks pulled out a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Now to understand why the banks are such wonderful entities you have to understand that the law that governs them was passed in the late 1800s; a law that basically stipulated that peasants should shut up and pay up. In the meantime Franco, not exactly known for being a pleasant, understanding chap, has come and gone and Democracy was ushered in, timidly, not wishing to upset the Church, The Army and the Banks.

The Army is now 21st Century, the Church… well… is the Church and the Banks strut around as if it were going out of fashioned. Unfortunately, strutting around with Charlie Chaplin moustache has come back into fashion but let’s not get into that.

So, what’s happening? The banks are whimpering that they cannot possible take on that sort of pay-out commitment and the Government, knowing that elections are closer than a snake’s testicles to the ground do not wish to upset such an important sector.

No doubt, the Supreme Court will go back on its latest findings and present a watered down version that does not upset the banks, but credit consumers can be sure that the EU’s Supreme Court will stomp all over it, even though most of us will have died of old age or be in prison for expressing a lack of Politically Correct vocabulary in print.

The Registro de Economistas Asesores Fiscales (REAF) recommends that those that signed mortgages after the second fortnight of September 2014 to submit reclamations before Hacienda for the refund of stamp duties. You might not see a penny from the banks but Hacienda is a political entity who will accept orders from the Government to be lenient… until the elections have come and gone.

Editorial comment: this article was written under the influence of several sherries and recommends that readers take the same course of action, just in case.

(News: Spain)

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