ON SUNDAY 8th January 2017 Philip Davies tragically took his own life, only hours after receiving notification that Alpha Bank had re-opened legal proceedings in Cyprus for a Swiss Franc loan.
Mr & Mrs Davies invested all their life savings and their pension into this property, but are now facing demands for repayment of nearly £700,000 from the bank against a loan that began at only £275,000.
Mr Davies was well-known and respected amongst those who worked with him to secure justice in Cyprus. Mr Went, a fellow member of a group of victims, said:
“Philip was a strong fighter for justice against the mis-selling that took place, and was the one of the few that forged ahead with a claim with the CCPS (The Competition & Consumer Protection Service). A victory was achieved when it was established that the contract with the developer and the loan agreement with the Bank, contained unfair terms. I remember many a meeting we attended together and phone calls we had and felt buoyed up by his enthusiasm to push ahead to get justice, not just for himself but for everyone involved.”
Mr. & Mrs. Davies envisaged that they were purchasing a dream home in Cyprus with developer Alpha Panareti. Unfortunately, the experience turned into a nightmare, through alleged mis-selling, misrepresentation and breaches on the part of developers, UK selling agents, Cypriot lawyers, Alpha Bank.
The villa, which was purchased off-plan is now on a derelict development, with no title deeds due to long -standing issues in Cypriot land-registry legislation, built on land that is already heavily mortgaged by the developer to the Bank.
Mrs Davies places the blame for her husband’s death squarely with the developer and the bank, who appear to have mis-sold these properties and loans, not just to them but 1000’s of other families. She is particularly critical of the bank for the pressure they placed on her and her husband.
Back in March 2013, the Alpha Panareti case became a prominent issue in the UK House of Commons. A Select Committee under William Cash MP, which over 100 MPs signed up to, used the case to inform the Ministers in this country, European Commission and Officials in Cyprus of the legal predicament affecting the defendants. Unfortunately, no information regarding progress has been received since 2013.
Recent pleas to the Cyprus Minister of the Interior to implement a complete overhaul of the relevant legislation has apparently fallen on deaf ears with only a short term short term fix to the existing law.
The Government of Cyprus has been operating this system for decades, the lawyers saw no need to alert their clients of the title deeds trap and the bank argues that all they were doing was simply facilitating the dream.
But their dream turned into a nightmare and Mrs. Davies accuses them and the legal system in England that has allowed lawyers to feed on the plight of these victims.
Even UK legal representation has failed to always protect the best interests of their clients. Mr Davies was known to have been hit particularly hard by a London legal firm who took almost £30,000 in fees, before apparently breaching the terms of their retainer and forcing the Davies’ to fund alternative representation. Their subsequent attempts to get the case heard by the Legal Ombudsman were rejected on the grounds that this matter relates to Cyprus, despite the fact that it involves a London firm and a High Court action in London. And despite numerous complaints to the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) after a five-year investigation, they have yet to offer any conclusion or hope of recovering the lost legal fees.
Mrs. Davies is understandably devastated and keen to protect her family from publicity. She hopes, however, that her husband’s suicide will help bring Cypriot housing victims together to support one another through consolidated legal action, and to achieve the justice which Mr Davies so badly wanted for all.
Recently, a growing group of victims, of which Mr Davies was a part, formed their own Client Committee to control the conduct and funding of their legal cases and ensure that no victim of Cyprus property mis-selling feels trapped and alone under similar circumstances. Tragically, this appears to have come too late to give a ray of hope to Mr. Davies.
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Press release issued by the Cyprus Property Victims Committee