You need to review the situation first.
(a) What was the terms of the ESCROW, and do you have a copy of them, this is a key factor. If the ESCROW terms have no reference to you getting or not getting the lease
transferred, then this is a key point.
(b) You say you requested an unencumbered title, yet you are knowingly entering into a sale
, taking over a lease
. Hence by definition the boat is encumbered before during and after the sale
. You would not be able to claim that you were seeking unemcumbered titile, in this case.
(c) as I stated the broker could be completely correct that the VAT is "paid" on the boat. ( I wouldnt go into the reasons why there isnt actually anything called "VAT status of an asset"). Knowing the way these deals are set up the VAT would be paid. Its the VAT on the lease payments thats at issue here,
So, you have several options
(1) If the broker knowingly
mis-represented the situation, Then you may have recourse through him or his professional indemnity. However on the face of it I suspect hes not at fault.
(2) IF you have documentary evidence that you specifiec that the one of the conditons of sale or the ESCROW agreement states it , that the deposit ( or the whole sale) was conditional on being accepted by the lease compnay , then you have legal
recourse under that from the broker.
(3) However if you merely accepted a standard ESCROW agreemen, ie that nothing is touched until the sale is completed,BUT
you havent had a clause like (2) above inserted, then you will be held to complete the sale , whether or not you get lease approval, and hence you will loose it if you back out.
You have, in my view,
(a) pull out and start various legal
challanges, which will cost you dearly intime and money
, and could consume all the deposit.
(b) Meet the lease company and see if there is a way forward. Remember if the lease company is ltalian ( or a branch in ltaly) and you dont live in ltaly( or have no substantial assets in Italy), it will be very difficult to secure transfer of the lease, irrespective of your financial status).
(c) My solution would be, since you state you are financially solvent, is to arrange a new lease in your own country of tax residency and then "buy out " the Italian lease.Unfortunately that may be more expensive and the VAT discount will not apply if you live in a country that doesnt have a discount VAT scheme. ( see malta
for expariate VAT lease schemes)
Unfortunately, I see and feel your pain, buy you were somewhat naive entering into a close to half a million euro transaction without proper advice and counselling. You case may be very weak.
PS: I suggested German lawyers as the only legal action you can take is against your brokers, the sellers have done nothing wrong it seems, hence an action in italy
would be very unlikely to suceed.