"Robin Hood of the banks" goes on trial for protest swindle

Catalan accused of taking out loans with no intention of paying money back; he used some of cash to fund magazine

He calls himself "the Robin Hood of the banks." Between 2006 and 2008, Enric Duran Giralt allegedly swindled some 38 banks by taking out loans and cash advances he never intended to pay back.

"When I applied for a credit card in 2008 with BBVA, thousands of families were in debt. The banks knew it but they kept offering products to people they knew were not going to be able to pay."

Within two years, Duran made off with close to half a million euros in loans and credit-card advances. He did it to protest against financial speculation, and used part of the money to publish 300,000 copies of a magazine entitled Crisis in which he detailed his scheme.

Friday was Duran's first day in court, in Vilanova, to answer civil charges that he owes BBVA close to 25,000 euros. He did it by taking out daily amounts as high of 1,500 euros from his credit card, violating the terms of his agreement, which allowed him maximum cash advances of up to 600 euros a month without having to pay interest.

Duran fled to South America but returned to Barcelona, where he was arrested by the authorities.

The criminal case facing this "Robin Hood" is still months away. But for now, Duran has a slew of civil lawsuits to answer.

Enric Duran in court on Friday.
Enric Duran in court on Friday.GIANLUCA BATTISTA
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