Bridging lender sued over mortgage fraud case
Wednesday 20th June 2012
Bridging lender West One Loans has declined to comment after being drawn into a legal battle involving a property fraud.
The lender is being sued after one of its investors lost £235,000. Nick Clarke alleges that West One Loans acted in breach of contract over a loan raised on a property in Gowan Avenue, Fulham, London.
West One Loans lent a total of £575,000 to someone claiming to be Massimo Barbini, the registered owner of the property. However, the Land Registry spotted a signature which did not match any in previous records, and uncovered the fraud.
The fraudster has apparently not been traced. Clarke says West One Loans owed him a ‘duty of care' and that it should have obtained valid security for the loan and verified the real identity and address of the borrower.
Clarke has hired top law firm Mishcon de Reya, and is seeking the return of the £235,000 cash plus interest and costs.
The case is due in the High Court on July 6.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) explained it had no remit in this area.
“We license providers of bridging loans and we would be interested in the contractual relationship between the lender and the consumer, but this is a B2B dispute,” it said.
Mark Abrahams, CEO of West One Loans, said: “Sadly, we cannot comment on this investor matter as it’s subject to ongoing legal proceedings. Having said that, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the robust best-practice measures West One Loans has in place to combat fraud.”
Gowan Avenue, Fulham, achieved notoriety when the TV presenter Jill Dando, who had a home there, was killed on the doorstep.
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