Editorial from our sister paper Ultima Hora UNFORTUNATELY it (the postage stamp fraud scandal) is not the first time that something like this happens in a country in which the trap, deceit and even fraud have been looked on with a certain benevolence. After the Gescartera, Eurobank, Ava and so many other scandals, we are now faced with another alleged fraud of grand dimensions: Forum Filatéllico and Afinsa, whose clients, between 300 and 400'000 small Spanish investors, may have lost all their patrimony, in trusting these two companies, in principle absolutely legal and solvent. But the denouncement by the Tax Office has set the judges on the trail of a framework which could end in crimes such as money laundering, false documents, punishable insolvency and unfair administration. While all this is very serious, what is most flagrant is that these companies, as they are commerical and not financial in character, are not covered by the mechanisms which the State has for banking and stock market entities: the Bank of Spain and National Commission of the Shares Market. From this it can be deduced that there is no fund to guarantee deposits and investments which allows recovery of part of the investment in case of failure. Now it is necessary to wait for the results of the judicial enquiry, which will reveal the true magnitude of the fraud and its mechanisms. But in the meantime, the thousands of savers who entrusted their money to companies which were supposedly serious, with experience and well established, will continue to fear the worst because the gap in the legislation for these cases propitiates results like this. As usually occurs, unfortunately, the most likely is that from now, with hindsight, the government will decide to legislate a no man's land, the dangers of which have been seen now, when it is too late for many people. *Editorial published in the leading Spanish paper in the Balearics, on May 11, 2006.

Ultima Hora,