Options for those appealing Turismo fines as Government presses ahead with enforcement
As I have posted previously, normally in Spain, fines are paid at the start of Court appeals, with the money being repaid if the appeal is successful. With these cases, however, José Escobedo has submitted a petition to the Court along with the appeals requesting that payment of the fines is not enforced while the case is ongoing.
The Court has now agreed to suspend enforcement, but only if the amount of the fine is lodged as a guarantee – either as an aval in a bank account with a guarantee given to the Court, or direct with the Court itself in an escrow account – in order to prove to the Court that you could pay in the end if you were to lose the case. Since this money is guaranteed to the Court, it is untouchable while the appeal is being heard. As I’ve said before, the whole process can take up to a year or so.
This leaves everyone appealing with three options. For those able to raise the money, you can either lodge it as a guarantee or pay the fine straight to the Government. Either way, the payment would have to be made now, and you would get it back if the Court decided in your favour. Moreover, the Government would not put a charge on your property or embargo your bank account. The advantages to putting the money on account as a guarantee rather than paying it to the Government are first that interest and surcharges would not be added to the fine if you ended up losing the case in Court, and secondly, that if you end up winning, a refund would be made immediately. If the fine is paid to the Government it could take another year to get your money back.
The third alternative is not to pay. At first glance, this might seem the most attractive option, but those who neither pay the fine nor lodge the money as a bank guarantee will end up paying 20% interest on the fine if they end up losing the case, and moreover, the Government will embargo property and/or bank accounts. Unfortunately, it has already become clear that the Government is pushing full steam ahead with the fine enforcements: some accounts have already been embargoed.
There are, so far, appellants in all three categories. Evidently, for those who simply cannot find the money the decision is simple, but for those who could, please understand that the threat to place charges on property and embargo accounts is not an empty one. I repeat that some accounts have already been embargoed; clearly it will take longer for the Government to register a charge against the property concerned. If you are going to pay, or put up the money as a guarantee, you need to act as quickly as possible to avoid being embargoed in the meantime. For those who choose to place the money as guarantee, this must be done in a particular Court-approved way, and José Escobedo can naturally arrange this for you. Whatever you decide, please let him know as soon as you can so that he can get the process moving straightaway, and hopefully avoid an even worse situation for you.”