Thursday, July 29

Anti-corruption attributes Francisco González a crime of unfair administration for using BBVA resources for personal use

The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office has attributed to Francisco González an alleged crime of unfair administration “for having used resources” from BBVA “for his exclusively personal use”, in reference to a valuation commissioned for the acquisition of a private property.

Francisco González blames his number two and the head of security for the BBVA assignments to Commissioner Villarejo

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In a brief filed on July 8, prosecutors Miguel Serrano and Alejandro Cabaleiro have requested the judge to summon the former director of the financial institution to testify in the framework of piece number 9 of the ‘Tandem case’, in which the BBVA contracts to retired commissioner José Manuel Villarejo.

Likewise, the representatives of the Public Ministry have requested the head of the Central Court of Instruction Number 6 of the National Court, Manuel García-Castellón, to extend the investigation of the case for a period of six months to continue with the investigation.

The judge agreed to the indictment of Francisco González in November 2019 for alleged crimes of bribery and disclosure of secrets in relation to the contracts with the former high command of the Police investigated in the National Court.

The “Trampa operation”, the ninth separate piece in the Villarejo case, revolves around the alleged espionage services to politicians, businessmen and journalists that the bank commissioned from the former commissioner since 2004, when the construction company Sacyr started a movement to try to take control of the entity that was ultimately unsuccessful.

In mid-2019, the judge agreed to the imputation of both BBVA and Francisco González in a case in which other former directors of the bank were being investigated, such as the former head of Security Julio Corrochano, or the former CEO Ángel Cano. They and other charges are being investigated for alleged crimes of active bribery and discovery and disclosure of secrets.

The judge considers that the work allegedly commissioned by BBVA from the Villarejo company between 2004 and 2017, involved “repeated interference” in people’s rights “through access to their communications, personal monitoring or access to their bank documentation” .

Valuation of a private estate

In this action, Anti-Corruption refers to the use of the bank’s resources to assess the acquisition of a private property, a question that already came to light during the interrogation of the former BBVA Risk Director Antonio Béjar, also investigated.

According to Béjar, the former director of the entity’s presidential cabinet, now head of internal audit, Joaquín Gortari, would have given him “precise instructions” to investigate the legal situation of the owner of a farm that Francisco González wanted to buy in El Escorial ( Madrid).

According to his version, Gortari told him that González had asked to speak with “those detectives” who worked for the bank to inquire about it, in reference to Cenyt, a company linked to Villarejo. Legal sources point out that it may be an error by the Prosecutor’s Office because Francisco González has already declared on this issue and, in addition, it is explained in the disciplinary file of Joaquín Gortari.

They request an imputation of the Director of Communication of BBVA

In its report, Anticorrupción also proposes that the head of communication at BBVA, Pablo García Tobin, be cited as being investigated, as he is “closely related to the facts investigated” in this separate piece on the former commissioner’s business.

In addition, his testimony “is not covered by any professional secrecy” and would serve to clarify the evidence because “given his position, a close treatment of the former president of the entity is evidenced”, alluding to FG (Francisco González).

The prosecutors refer to the interrogation of the person in charge of physical security, Inés Díaz Ochagavia, who reported that they created a folder in the cloud to “collect the information” that may exist in the entity about the contracts with Cenyt, at the request of García Tobin.

Anticorrupción maintains that the information available to PwC at the time of preparing its “foresic” further in the documentation referenced by BBVA “does not contain” neither that folder “nor the specific relation of metadata” that could allow the file to be traced from its creation to the present. This “would show which people were authorized to access and if there was a deletion of any file, especially when there are emails with files without showing the attachments.”

For the Prosecutor’s Office, all this is due to the fact that the hiring of Cenyt’s services was “outside the selection procedure of the entity’s suppliers” and “remained opaque for many of the people who should have had knowledge.”

Calls into question the bank’s collaboration

The Public Ministry also questions the “alleged collaboration” of BBVA, although it admits that the status of a legal entity under investigation “prevents it from being required to present the data as it is protected by its right of defense.”

However, “nothing prevents the lack of collaboration from being recorded, and not because it is obliged, but because in all the papers presented it affirms its willingness to collaborate, which (…) is rather uncertain, totally biased and interested.”

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