Hertfordshire couple accused of money-laundering in Spanish property deal

Woman hands putting sunscreen from a bottle on the beach

Woman hands putting sunscreen from a bottle on the beach - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Sun-drenched dream turned into living nightmare for aspiring beach bar owners.

A local couple have seen their relocation to Spain brought to an abrupt halt over claims that they had been laundering money through the purchase of their new home.

Jules and Yvonne Minto sold their house in Hertfordshire for £200,000 in August in order to realise their dream of owning a bar and living abroad. With only the papers left to sign, they made the move. However, while in transit, the sale money vanished from their British bank account. They discovered the lack of funds when attempting to settle a hotel bill in France, where they were stopping off to split up the journey.

The bank - Natwest - demanded proof that the £200,000 was from the house sale, informing the couple that they were suspected of money-laundering.

This left the Mintos baffled and distraught due to the shock of the situation - being in a foreign country, their Hertfordshire home gone, no-where secured yet in Spain for them to live.

What followed was a fortnight of frantic phone calls back to the UK in a desperate attempt to rectify the situation, costing the couple “hundreds”. They had no other option but to live on credit cards and borrowed money from a local estate agent to survive.

Meanwhile, the Spanish property purchase fell through with the three-bedroom residence in Torremolinos going to another buyer. At the same time, Natwest retracted the accusations and re-credited their account with the money. But it was too late.

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The Mintos have since acquired legal representation and are claiming compensation from Natwest for the thousands they were made to spend on hotel accommodation, phone bills and other costs.

The couple have since secured a property in Benalmadena. Meanwhile, Natwest have declined to provide the media with comment, citing “client confidentiality” as their reason for this.