During one of the last text conversations I had with Ana she asked me to write a blog update. A redux. Here it is.
You might be wondering why I’m roasting this old chestnut. Ana Corbero? Didn’t you wave goodbye to that old bint in 2017? Didn’t she leave you gasping for air like a freshly caught fish? Well… that’s what should have happened. I should have left well alone but life never turns out the way one thought it should. Sometimes, so it seems, I just can’t help myself from another thrashing.
At present Ana Corbero is living in Espluges, Barcelona. She lives in the palace of arches created by her tricky, tax dodging father Xavier Corbero. On instagram she belches how she is surrounded by love and light. She’s opening a gallery, she offers her close artist friends exhibitions in the space… only four years ago she called her fathers house, ‘that vile mausoleum I want nothing to do with’.
Things were not so good for Ana in February 2019.
On March 1st 2019 Ana Corbero emailed me. Desperate and alone… her husband and children, she cried, had abandoned her. Penniless, addicted to drugs, trapped inside her lavish Andalucian jail… like a Saudi princess.
It’s time to revisit Ana Corbero, describe the creature she really is. How Ana Corbero deserved to be abandoned and humiliated by her husband and her children. I shall continue telling the truth about Ana Corbero… her lies, her manipulation, the manipulation of her story, the story of her ‘trauma’. Her trauma, allegedly inherited from grandparents, from dolls, from Miro, from the Virgin Mary. Trauma, always her excuse for behaving exactly however she wants when she wants and anyone who has the audacity to contradict her is a hyena, a heretic, a narcissist.
But how did this happen? How did you fall back into her poisonous web, Duncan? Why didn’t you listen to those you trusted? Why couldn’t you stay away?
March the first 2019. Ana Corbero asked for help. She could have asked any number of people. She could have asked her rich Turkish friend Mr Koc. Her rich French friend Mr. V. She could have asked Elsa Peretti who bank rolled her father’s excesses. She could have asked the poisonous Celia Lyttleton. The poisonous Celia Lyttleton who once arrived on my doorstep in desperate need of help, babe in arms, until she was ready to move on. Ana Corbero could have asked any number of these rich friends but in her time of greatest need she asked me. And that, my friends is how a fool and his money are easily parted.
Some might say, oh just let it go. You can just imagine who might say that. People… rich enough not to notice the absence of several hundred thousand euros.
Begrudgingly, I answered her call. “What do you want?” I was irritable and uncommunicative. How did she know I was in Seville? She persisted and after some persuading I met with her. If only to tidy up past resentments. Because, as we all know, resentments are the number one killer of people pleasers.
At her house in Carmona she sat on a wide, yellow, gingham sofa. Tiny and thin as you could not imagine. Smoking one cigarette after another. Her eyes sunk into her head. The house was cold and damp. The smell of nicotine lingering. She began sobbing.
I asked what had happened.
“Nobody knows how to help me,” she wailed.
The staff had lined up in front of her unable to help. The nurses and housekeeper and gardeners. Everyone was exhausted by her. A year later, she would do the same to me, take everything I had… emotionally, physically and spiritually.
She sat on the sofa and told her sorry tale of a one page divorce she signed because she loved her husband and she said she would do anything he wanted. She had given him everything, now she had nothing. The children refused to see her. Like most desperate fools she was incapable of owning her part in a disaster of her own making. She was the victim, the wretched victim who had only others to blame.
However self piteous, it was hard not to feel compassion for her. However she’d behaved, surely she didn’t deserve this?
As I was preparing to leave the house that damp Spanish afternoon she grabbed hold of me and begged me to help. I thought for a moment and wondered how many times I had been desperate for help but unable to ask. Desperate and alone, this catastrophe was of her own making. So I said this,
“I will help you, I will do anything it takes to help you. But you must let me help you the way I see fit. I will be paid for my time if and when you are liberated from your shoddy divorce agreement and your father’s inheritance bares fruit. This help does not come for free.”
I asked her to consider signing an agreement and I left.
I stayed in my hotel in Carmona and flew back to London the following day.
Ana met me in London.
During the hours we spent together I attempted to unravel her various problems. Her problems were complex but not unsurmountable. The divorce she had consented to was a mess and obviously signed when she was high or drunk (no excuse). What little leverage she had I knew I was going to have to exploit to force her husband into a negotiation.
We needed lawyers. The best I could find. The best I could pay for.
Her father had left her (and her step mother Midu) his €150 million estate which was held in a complicated trust in the British Virgin Islands.
I introduced Ana to my lawyer Arthur Bing Nelson in London who specialises in trusts. I explained whilst I was helping as a friend, I expected to be paid for my time. The meeting was just one of many where Ana seemed incapable of grasping the bigger picture. Distracted, not looking like the beneficiary of a large estate but a resentful fool, too preoccupied with herself to help herself.
She had a plan to be closer to her children. She had been on-line house hunting for a place near her children’s boarding school. I drove her to see the apartment overlooking her children’s school unaware, until she mentioned in passing… the children were not just refusing to see her they had demanded to be protected from her, they were not allowed to see or communicate with their mother due to her abusive behaviour. The school had been instructed to safeguard them. As it turned out the children were mere trading chips in her ghastly game of cat and mouse with the cause of her primary resentment… Nabil, her ex husband. Nabil the ‘narcissist’, ‘the viper’, ‘the liar’. I was unaware that day, as we drove into the verdant english countryside the depth of deception and self deception Ana was capable.
I agreed to return to Seville for a longer visit to see what we could do to spring her from her gorgeous jail. When I returned to Seville I affirmed I was willing to do whatever it took to help her get back onto her feet and she signed the agreement to pay me an hourly rate, disbursements and expenses.
I hired Miguel and Patricia, two incisive and brilliant lawyers from the international law firm Garrigues. At our first meeting, I explained what we needed. 1. Ana needed her ex husband to renegotiate the terms of her divorce. 2. We needed to onshore her father’s offshore assets. 3. We needed to deal with a highly complicated tax liability. It was complicated but I understood clearly what needed to be done whilst Ana, yet again, sat in the meetings like a troubled child asking about plates she had left in her London apartment Nabil refused to return.
Nabil Gholam had done a brilliant job of wrestling everything from her. Kept on a short financial leash at the house in Carmona, refused entry to their apartment in London. The property she owned with her husband in Carmona was in a company over which she had no control. The other property they owned world wide had been signed over by herself to her husband. Even her father’s estate was supposedly left to Nabil. What little room he had left her to wriggle was enough for me to get her out of the agreement or at least make his life uncomfortable. He was breaking corporate rules, he was not following even the basic rules of running a Spanish company therefore opening himself to legal scrutiny.
Everyday I research property laws, company laws, I gain an encyclopedic knowledge of offshore trusts, the British Virgin Islands and onshoring. I am searching for loopholes Ana could step through to avoid the problems she had created. I coordinate the various lawyers, accountants and advisors.
As Ana saw a way out of her prison she became wilful and surly, rather than take the opportunity to change anything in herself, she set about using my money and time righting historical wrongs. As she became stronger she became more arrogant.
Every day as I sorted one problem she would set about creating another.
The control she now felt confident to exert on others she attempted on me. She told me how to breath, how to stand, how to eat and insisted I gave her urine and stool samples so she could test how my insides were doing. I refused.
Desperate for cash she took her watches to a dealer in Seville and sold them. She asked me to contact Jay Jopling and offer him a bronze by Pablo Gargallo of Kiki de Montparnass. After I offered it to him (by text) Ana admitted it was a copy of the original by her father Xavier Corbero. Thankfully Jopling declined the sculpture.
A burly man from Seville arrives at the house. He has a bag of tools and a toxic body odor. Convinced the safe in her bedroom is packed with her husband’s collection of tax avoiding watches, Ana hired a safe breaker who worked all day to cut into the safe. He failed, filling the house with acrid smoke and foul, grey dust. The staff and I looked on helplessly as the safe breaker cut through the steel and concrete. Of course, she refuses to pay him.
High on the thought of freedom she demands furniture moved from wing of the house to another. Huge wardrobes dismantled. Beds and sculpture hauled needlessly from one side of the house to another. No longer the sickly sparrow she became a fucking monster.
At night we would work through the research I continued to compile but Ana was incapable of listening, berating me with stories from her past and the ‘inherited trauma’ of her great grandparents. She would sob and claw at her face keeping me awake until dawn.
Weeks of hard work passed. Her friend Mr V turned up from Mexico City and commended the work I was doing for Ana.
“We all need a Duncan in our lives.”
The chaos at the house intensified, Ana found her daughter’s diary who had written pubescent fantasies about the gardener. Whether they were true or not was a different matter. Seizing on this opportunity to cause more problems Ana calls the police, lawyers and social workers. We have the most gut wrenching chat with the gardener who casually denied the accusations looking at his boss with total disregard. Both me and Mr V (gay men) had seen the daughter use highly sexualised maneuvers. I extricated myself from the moment and informed her father.
Unexpectedly, Ana’s lawyers, the expensive ones from Seville… Miguel and Patricia turn up at the estate. We sit in the garden because Ana is paranoid her husband Nabil is eavesdropping from Beirut. We discuss everything in English, we discuss the divorce.
“Well, she signed it.” Patricia shrugged.
They were tiring of her antics. Why are they here? We discuss the property in Carmona held in the Spanish company she owned equally with Nabil. We discuss her father’s estate. We discuss the children and Nabil’s access to the house. Then Ana starts speaking Spanish. It isn’t unusual. But Patricia turns to me and says,
“We are discussing Anna stealing money from her daughter’s trust account.”
“How much money?”
“Enough for the authorities to be alerted.”
My heart sank lower than an ocean. I immediately tried to rationalise.
“I’m sure Ana is very embarrassed.”
I spluttered, but at that moment I knew what was happening, I felt so foolish… and I knew I couldn’t trust this greedy, common thief ever again. Stealing from her severely disabled daughter so she could attend a fancy party in Istanbul made a fool of me and my help.
Laughing how her husband would hide shaking in the pantry whenever they had a fight, she scoffed how a big man was shaking with fear, in fear of tiny Ana. But I knew Nabil wasn’t frightened of her… he was frightened of what he might do to her.
3am. I am bitten by a mosquito. So exhausted my immune system compromised, a thick red line of angry infection runs from the bite up my arm. I know it’s serious. We go immediately to the hospital in Seville. In the hospital she tells anyone who will listen that I am her husband. Unable to move she strokes my brow and calls me darling. The doctors confirm the worst: Lymphangitis.
Recuperating from the nasty infection I retreat to Ana’s house in Tavira, Portugal. At her suggestion I move my things out of storage and into the empty house. Ana sends video updates from Carmona. Videos of her husband wheeling her daughter’s wheelchair around the estate with the nurse. Whilst in Tavira we were contacted by middle man Enric Badia who acts for developer wanting her father’s estate. I construct a deal. If not for him for other potential buyers. The deal takes care of the offshore element/instrument, the tax… leaving Ana with a life changing amount of money.
It took weeks to recover from the infection and fight off sepsis. Emboldened by her inevitable jailbreak Ana took the reigns. As it turned out this meant more underhand shenanigans. She used her housekeeper, Ani to pass notes to Nabil bypassing the lawyers. Trying to make deals. Nabil’s lawyers tell Patricia and Miguel. When Garrigues discovered what she was doing they fired her. Speechless. Spent. It was over. She had burned her last bridge. I was so weak fell into the hall shelves and smashed her precious painted teapot, smashed into a thousand pieces.
I wished it had been her head.
The following week she turned up in Tavira and told me to leave immediately.
Persuaded to read my previous blog the only critique she had?
“I don’t have black eyes!” Of all the terrible revelations? That was it.
Of course, a nasty legal fight unfolded. She held onto the money she owed me. She still owes me. Of the approximately €400,000 she owes me she paid me £15,000. Now it’s with lawyers. We are waiting for the court to give us a date.
It seems she has moved into her father’s house. Who wouldn’t want to live there? Why didn’t she move into it sooner? As we began the process of suing her I knew I couldn’t take this situation personally. Ana treated many people like she treated me and she will continue to treat people the same way. It is what a narcissist does.
If you spot it you got it. Everything she accuses others she suffers herself. She has paid a huge price for her inability to address her character defects. Expecting everyone else to clear up her mess. Whether that mess is dog shit in the sitting room or refusing to deal with her father’s inheritance… her unrealistic expectations of others are huge and can never be fulfilled. It makes me sad to think a 65 year old woman can be so far from peace of mind. As for me? I suggest you read my previous blog. I think it explains everything. I couldn’t save you Ana. I shouldn’t have tried.