The Spanish "Robin Hood" Who Took $700,000 From Banks and Gave It to Activists

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 22 2014 6:25 PM

The Spanish Activist Who Tricked Banks Out of $700,000, Gave It Away, and Disappeared

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The Spanish Robin Hood uses a bow made of computers and an arrow made of fake loan applications.

Wikimedia Commons

Enric Duran is a "former table-tennis coach" who by his account took nearly $700,000 from 39 banks in Spain between 2006 and 2008 by applying for loans he didn't intend to pay back, gave the money to anti-capitalist activists, and put out a video announcing what he'd done. He was arrested; last February, he skipped bail and has gone into hiding. The Guardian found him for a short interview about his situation and the burgeoning distaste for capitalism in Spain.

"I don't see legitimacy in a judicial system based on authority, because I don't recognise its authority," he said.
His actions, he said, were at the vanguard of a worldwide debate on the economic crisis. The timing pushed the anti-capitalist movement into the light, just as many Spaniards were seeking alternatives to a system that had wreaked havoc on their lives.
While the same actions would probably be better understood in today's Spain, he said that they would not be needed. The anti-capitalist movement has grown from a fringe movement to one supported by thousands of Spaniards, he said, evidenced by the 70 or so social currencies in use across the country and widely supported movements such as the indignados.
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Duran's timing was superb, as he seems to have been finishing up his work/theft just as the 2008 economic crisis devastated his country. As for the veracity of his claim to have given the stolen loot away, the Washington Post points to this video put out by activists who say they received "expropriated" money.

Kelly Tunney is a Slate intern in New York City.