How I got 492000 euros from banks on 68 unpaid credits, and made public as a civil disobedience action!

The seventeen of september of 2008, two days after of the bankrupt of Lehman Brothers which simbolized the extension of the USA mortage crisis to the whole banking system, worlwide, the streets of Catalonia was full of 200000 copies of a magazine with a very appropiated title “Crise”

The question in the frontpage was very appealing:

ENG
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the central pages, of this 16 pages unique publication, a expressive title got the attention of the people in all the country, making anyone curious to read the whole article

crisiEN

 

 

Some key sentences in the article sumarized the aim of the action:

“I am writing down this pages to announce that I have expropriated 492,000 euros to 39 banks through 68 loan deals. If we include interest on arrears, the present amount of debt is over 500,000 euros which I will not pay.
It has been an individual disobedience action towards banking that I have carried out deliberately to denounce the bank system and to use the money for supporting initiatives which alert from systemic crisis that we are starting to live and which intend to build an alternative society”

“Achieving 492,000 euros with no bank guarantees in an economic downturn context. It shows how the banking promotes indebtedness from families over any control or over any risks contingency plans and common sense”

After being working in this plan since summer of 2005, the moment of using the surprise factor to appear in the scenes arrived, on september 2008.

Meanwhile hundreds of volunteers was distributing Crise on the streets. Around one hundred activist knew this action before distributing, other 500 hundred, realized at same time – most of them with big joy,, after being advised before that something challenging was going to be presented in the magazine.

In fact, to be able to be the first who shared the news, with an action of self-incrimination, before any police, informer or banker realized it had already been a great success.

The plan worked as envisioned. Already in the same morning live programs on TV was showing it and looking to interview me, meanwhile I was able to keep in a secure place, then hidden in Sao Paolo, and talking with the media from there.

 

You can see here an exemple about how The Guardian reproduced the news the day after:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/sep/19/spain

Most of the banks with license to offer credits in Catalonia, was affected, but they was so surprised, that only some recognized at same time that “it is true”, meanwhile others said “it is not true” before correcting it the day later.

The key of how it was done appears in some of the sentences of the article:

“After some research and attempts, in the spring of 2006, I started going ahead definitely with this idea; I was making various banks, savings banks and finantial credit establishments think that I wanted to refurbish my flat or buy a new car. In some cases, I was doing that by using a company I created with the aim of justifying certain investments as the purchase of audiovisual materials for a production company.
The advantages of asking for a loan by a company are that debts as a company, even when it is a sole shareholder company, do not get registered in your personal credit history, so you can always increase your debts indefinitely without being detected by CIRBE (information system about debts from the Bank of Spain)”

I had found two more important loopholes within the CIRBE system that helped me acquire most of the funds. One was that loans of less than 6000 euros didn’t get reported to the CIRBE system and the other was that there was a 2 month delay in reporting loans greater than 6000 to banks. So this was the plan, I wanted to go after the big loans, but I had to execute this in stages. First stage was a long and grueling one. I had to establish solvency/good track record with the banks, which meant I had to simulate salaries. So I proceeded to take out many under 6000 euro loans from various banks over a 2 year period, kept transfering those amounts to the target banks as a salaries, built a good history. Once I had established a good rapport with the target banks, I knew I had 2 months to execute my plan to take out loans greater than 6000, and so I did. I was able to take out 300000 euros in 2 months, the final phase of my plan was complete.

“These loans were applied without any guarantee neither from another person nor from any properties, just by my signature and an invented occupation with a great false payroll that was making them believe I was earning enough money to cover the financing by far. The crux of the matter is banks have no way of checking wether the payroll one presents to them is real or not, as long as the company and the person really exist.
I also had to present them some right bank statements that I could get by circulating money from company accounts to personal accounts through payroll transfers in order to pretend some personal deposits, which banks were believing at all. In some cases, they were asking me for a job contract, Income Tax Return or work history. They were asking my companies for the quarterly VAT return and, when they were older than one year, for the Corporate Income Tax.
All this can be properly presented: sometimes with real information and when it is not possible, with a printer, a photocopier, scissors and sellotape it works wonders! “

You can see here a comic with a summary:

crisicomic

 

 

This declaration also included a call to action” saying:

“because there are some debts you could not pay and you are already in the banks’ defaulters lists… why don’t you contact me to set up a defaulters union? There are more people registered in defaulters lists than in unemployment lists…and living without checking accounts is some kind of art which deserves to be shared!
What I am going to do from now on”

The days following, a multitude of defaulters, begun to organize themselves – in the forums crise collective provided – about mutual aid of debtors, becoming the first movement of that kind in Spain time before the mortgaged platform was launched.

Get here, the full pdf version of Crise:

Time after there are different resources that has been added for facilitating more information of this action.
One of them was a handbook:

nuria_guell

This book was coordinated by Nuria Guell and with the participation also of Lucio Urtubia”
(get it here: http://www.mon3y.us/nuria_guell.html )

As a part of this teaching process Lucio and me, did a conference in a squat in Barcelona
you can look here to my explanation with all the details:

 

 

 

Much later (march 2014) there was a documentary “Come back” published that had witness accounts of different people who collaborated in this action (this was covered until passed prescription time, then because the criminal risk, that could mean). This is the piece who explain more detail about how the money was distributed.

Look to it, here:

Next time I could focus on other aspects of the story, (what happened when I came back to spain in 2009 etc..) but this post has been more focused in the banking action itself.

8 years after, and accused by the same charges I suggested on S-17 publication I stay in clandestinity, meanwhile no money has returned, and nobody more has been charged of this action.

After this years , new significant initiatives has been born, with the same vision that mobilized me, years ago. Look for example in this article:
http://www.vice.com/read/be-the-bank-you-want-to-see-in-the-world-0000626-v22n4

If I could be able to come back to 2005 and decide again, I would do the same. I feel that the risk I took was worth, all the consequences that has been created for radical social change, in the last 10 years.

Henry D. Thoreau, said: “Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison” I would like to add, that the exile is still better because outside prison they can’t stop you to build the just world that you carry in your heart.