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UK orders seizure of Spanish language school in London 

The Local Spain
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UK orders seizure of Spanish language school in London 
The building London’s High Court has ordered to be seized as repayment to the two investors is the Vicente Cañada Blanch Spanish Institute on Portobello Road.   Photo: Instituto Cervantes/Wikipedia

London’s High Court has ordered the seizure of a Cervantes Institute building in the British capital as payment for a debt of €120 million owed by the Spanish government to two international investors in relation to Spain’s so-called ‘sun tax’. 

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The High Court of London on Wednesday gave full ownership of a Spanish language school in London’s Notting Hill to two investors who sued the Spanish State for damages in 2018 in relation to the controversial but now defunct ‘sun tax’. 

The German and Luxembourgish plaintiffs took Spanish authorities to court after their solar companies, which had invested heavily in solar plants in Granada in 2008 due to favourable incentives introduced by the then-ruling Socialists, incurred the loss of €120 million in potential earnings after a law was passed by the right-wing government of Mariano Rajoy in 2014.

The ‘sun tax’, or impuesto al sol, essentially saw anyone with solar panels in Spain pay more taxes as well have to give surplus energy to the national grid for free. 

At least 50 other international arbitration cases have been opened against the Spanish government for the reportedly €10 billion in losses incurred by investors, with the ruling Socialists’ attempts to stop the stream of litigation by scrapping the sun tax in 2018 proving futile.

The building London’s High Court has ordered to be seized as repayment to the two investors is the Vicente Cañada Blanch Spanish Institute on Portobello Road.   

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This old Dominican convent is owned by the Spanish State and houses different Spanish learning institutions in the British capital, including a Spanish language school, the Cervantes Institute, Spain’s Distance University (UNED) and the Miguel de Cervantes Senior Centre.

Instituto Cervantes is a worldwide non-profit organisation created by the Spanish government to promote Spanish language learning across the globe. There are 87 language schools in 44 different countries across the five continents.

UK courts already froze the accounts of the Cervantes Institute in London in April 2023 in a bid to get the Spanish State to pay back damages to affected companies.

The Spanish Prime Minister’s private jet and state-owned Navantia shipping vessels in Australia could also be embargoed.

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