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Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33958
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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My fiancé who lives in and comes from Ghana but who has a

Customer Question

My fiancé who lives in and comes from Ghana but who has a bank account with the Halifax has had his account frozen. The account contains £3500 which I transferred there just over a month ago. The bank have told my fiancé they will unfreeze his account if he presents his ID in person at a Bristol branch of the bank. The only trouble is, he has applied for a student visa to the U.K but has been declined and declined on appeal. He has no way of getting back to the U.K. now and desperately needs the funds which he borrowed from me. If he can't have them, I would like them back. I am a white English woman and I can't believe the money I borrowed to help him has now been frozen in his account. Will this now remain there forever, as it now appears unlikely that he will be able to come here? I can prove the provenance of the funds through the loan I applied for, it's arrival in my bank account and my transfer to my fiancé. Please can you help me. My fiancé has no job in Ghana and he needs inhalers and medication. It's a desperate situation. I thought of going to the branch myself to show my ID, and all of the transfers on the account. But still I think they want to see him in person with his ID. But this won't be possible
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
What can he do to access the only money he has in the world which he was relying upon? Is there any provision in law for this ? They won't tell him over the phone why they have frozen his account.
Expert:  Clare replied 8 months ago.

Thank you for your question

My name is Clare

I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first

When did he first open the account?

Were you with him when he did?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Hi Clare thank you for your reply.I believe the account was opened a couple of years ago. It was opened in an online application I believe. He has told me that the reason he was given for the freezing has been that the account was not used much when it was first set up but that in the last month it has seen frequent transactions. So they want to verify his identity. This won't be possible in person. I am wondering if I were to go in, as his fiancée, and prove our engagement (I have a document permitting us to marry in Ghana) and perhaps FaceTime him whether this would prove his identity sufficiently. Also he has sent me his bank card.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
No I wasn't with him in person when he opened it. It was set up online but I am not sure which country he was in when he set it up
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Hi Clare he has just told me he opened the account in March this year when he was in Ohio, US. An online application.
Expert:  Clare replied 8 months ago.

A strange question I know - but have you ever physically met him - and did you Bank Transfer it to the Halifax account?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Hi Clare,Yes I have met him when he was in the UK last year. At the time he thought returning was just a formality in terms of the visa application process. I have also spoken to him on FaceTime every single day for hours and hours in the last 10 months. He has bought me gifts and flowers and sent them to my house. Yes my bank - First Direct - transferred the funds directly to this bank account which has been frozen. I have evidence of all of this.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I understand your line of questioning and I have also wondered at times if I have been a target of immigration fraud. But he has passed all of my covert tests and I now feel guilty for doubting him.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I have evidence of :
The loan I took out with Hitachi Personal Loans
The funds going to my bank account
My bank transferring to his Halifax account
Transactions using the money in his bank account
Him transferring all £5000 back to me when we had an argument and I didn't want to help him any more so demanded it back and he did return it
Me softening the next day and returning it to him
Him buying me flowers using funds from this account
The first payment for this loan coming out of my bank account on 12th September
Him transferring to me £108 on the same day from the frozen account
All above transactions are between my first direct account and his Halifax account.
He asked me to take out the loan to help him and said he would be responsible for the repayments. I was worried but ultimately have formed a relationship with him and wanted to help him. And so far he has not let me down.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I am legally liable for those monthly payments for the next 5 years but between us we have an agreement that he will pay me every single payment so that it costs me nothing. However, if he can't get at the remaining funds, this will cause massive problems. I would really like my money back but also wanted to help him.
Expert:  Clare replied 8 months ago.

Had there been any transactions prior to the loan going in?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
a few infrequent ones since March
Expert:  Clare replied 8 months ago.

has he sent you copies of the Statement showing the funds?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Hi ClareI have screenshots of the transactions of the loan money between our accountsThat's all though. No hard copies
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
hard copy letters were sent to his address in Chepstow
There is an email from the bank when he set up the account
And I can get the letters that were sent to his Chepstow address
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
The letter sent to his Chepstow address just shows the account opening confirmation letters - I can provide photo of this
I have screenshots of loan transaction
That's all there is
Expert:  Clare replied 8 months ago.

Can you get hard copies of the letters sent to the Chepstow address?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I can get hold of the hard copy account opening letter - but as far as I am aware this is the only related documentation sent to Chepstow address
Expert:  Clare replied 8 months ago.

Are you aware that the site charges more for a phone call?

Can you send me a copy of the screen snap shot?

I am trying to find a work round for this - but do just wish to try and double check things

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Hi I have attached the screenshots. Please let me know if there is anything else you need. Thank you for helping me.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
These are screenshots from my daily balance updates from my bank. They show the major transactions as discussed.
Expert:  Clare replied 8 months ago.

Do you have the card in your possession?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
No but I can get it - it could be sent to me.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
In fact it is in Chepstow now - so I can get it tomorrow
Expert:  Clare replied 8 months ago.

What is the Chepstow address/connection?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
His best friend lives there and that's where he was living when he came to stay in the UK for six months
Expert:  Clare replied 8 months ago.

Ah I see - when was that?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
May to November 2015
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Actually it was July to November
Expert:  Clare replied 8 months ago.

Recently then.

Could he come over again as a visitor?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
he has been declined three times this year - immigration rules seem to have tightened. He has spent over £4000 on visa applications this year The reasons given are that they suspect he will try to stay in the country. He thinks he would be rejected again if he applied for another visit visa. Additionally he now has no money to apply for another visa and buy a return plane ticket to U.K. That was all of his money - which I had lent him. I can't take out any more loans for him.
Expert:  Clare replied 8 months ago.

So this is not the first loan that you have made?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
i didn't intend a plural there - I should have said "a further loan" - I did lend him £200 in January but it was my own money and he paid me back within three weeks.
Expert:  Clare replied 8 months ago.

OK.

Would he be willing to sign a Power of Attorney allowing you to deal with the matter?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I just asked him and he said absolutely. You are giving me hope!
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Hi Clare, did you receive my message about James permitting me Power of Attorney? Thanks, Kristen
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Hi Clare,I am worried that you haven't replied. Should I give up with trying to get my money back ?Thanks,Kristen
Expert:  Clare replied 8 months ago.

My apologies for the delay - I have been unwell

As a starting point you need to get him to sign an Power of Attorney authorising you to deal with all matters regarding the Bank Account.

If he can have this sealed by the UK Embassy/Consulate in Accra to consolidate the evidence that he is a real person!

Armed with this (and your own passport) you can attend the branch and deal with them (although you may still face some resistance)

Since all you wish to have the money returned to the account from which it came this should be achievable.

Please ask if you need further details

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Sorry to hear you have been unwell. I hope you are feeling better.Should I get the power of attorney drawn up over here, then send it to him to get it sealed ? How much would it cost please ?
Would this be proof enough of his identity for them? I went to the bank myself yesterday to attempt to get the account unblocked but they said Head Office had stipulated only his physical presence could prove his identity. They said not even going down a complaints procedure or an ombudsman could overturn it.Thanks Clare
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Would taking a lawyer with me to the bank lend weight to the argument ?
Expert:  Clare replied 8 months ago.

Yes get it drawn up over here and send it to him and tell him to get it notarised at the British Embassy

A solicitor will not assist - but the Power of Attorney will!

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you Clare.
Finally when I went into the bank yesterday they disclosed the reason they blocked the account : he had got a security question wrong over the phone. Will this change things at all/make them more difficult ?And how long will it take to get a power of attorney drawn up ? And do you have any idea of the estimated cost?Sorry - these will be my last questions. And finally, what do you think my chances of success are ?Thanks so much.Kristen
Expert:  Clare replied 8 months ago.

The reason for the block is not a problem if you get the rest of the paperwork in order

The pOwer of Attorney shoudl be straightforward and cost maybe £100 and be completed with a couple of weeks

There is a good chance of success

Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33958
Experience: I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
Clare and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you Clare for all your help. Is it possible for you to draw up the Power of Attorney documentation for me or should I just contact a local solicitor? Also, my concern is that the bank will just say that the power of attorney documentation still does not prove James' identity. They were adamant when I saw them - they phoned them - I couldn't even speak to Head Office during the meeting. And Head Office simply refused to remove the block without proof of identity. Do you think they will be compelled to take the Power of Attorney documentation seriously? Thank you. I will be rating your service as excellent by the way.

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