The Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office has half achieved the objective of its complaint against high-ranking officials of the Junta de Castilla y León and businessmen for the Wind Power System, in which the electricity companies paid significant bribes to local companies for the regional government to authorize wind farms. From the first moment, the prosecutor Tomás Herranz placed Rafael Delgado at the center of the plot, who was Vice-Minister of Economy and Secretary General of the Ministry between 2003 and 2011, and who since 2006, through the administrative formula of certiorari, was made with the power to award wind farms, which previously fell to Board officials. Once the instruction is over, in his indictment the prosecutor takes another step and concludes that, indeed, the Junta de Castilla y León “decided to favor a significant entry of companies from the Autonomous Community into the wind farm promoter companies” and that it was Delgado, “following instructions from the Minister of Economy, Tomás Villanueva”, who died during the investigation, who “took advantage of the occasion, in a plan devised together with the accused Ricardo Bravo Sayas”, director of Iberdrola.
Gaps in the Perla Negra case: the investigation of the corruption plot in Castilla y León remains half-done
The operation involved forcing private developers and electricity companies to associate with entrepreneurs from Castilla y León, only in this way were the parks authorized. Subsequently, these local entrepreneurs, without having lifted a finger to carry out those parks, sold their shares to those promoters or companies. The modus operandi led some foreign businessmen to refer to the Community as “Sicilia y León”. Despite everything, no one from the regional government took notice, and not because of the silence of those affected. As published by elDiario.es, the then president, Juan Vicente Herrera, was alerted by a promoter that an “abuse of power” was taking place. “We have complied with all the requirements suggested by those responsible for the Ministry of Economy,” he said, “but we have reached a point where the proposed requirements, in addition to being considered by us as an abuse of power by the Administration, are not they can be understood neither as enriching for the development of our company nor for the socioeconomic development of the whole of the society of Castilla y León “, he warned. “By not accepting these requirements, which, it seems, have their sole motivation in the nationality of Ibervento’s partners, our projects have not come to fruition,” he told Herrera. The president did not even answer-
According to the prosecutor, the total amount of the bites paid by the electricity companies amounts to 75 million. What is not clarified is what the Board gained by favoring those businessmen, among whom it cites the Llorente brothers, from the Collosa construction company, as the only ones interested in the wind power business, or what was the final objective.
Delgado, a figurehead and tangled international operations
It does appear what Delgado won, and it was not little. From 2006 to 2011, says the prosecutor, he had “assets and amounts of money whose importance is not related to the income he received from his work in the Junta de Castilla y León or with his subsequent professional activity” and which are attributed to “illegal activity”. Delgado left the regional government in 2011 and incorporated the companies Delgado Núñez Consulting SL and Samuño Activos SL. In turn, the lawyer Jesús Rodríguez Recio, a personal friend from childhood, established Tough Trade whose corporate purpose is “Consulting, engineering, installation, production and maintenance of projects in the renewable energy sector, environmental studies and projects, contracting and realization “. The record indicates that Rodríguez Recio did not have any knowledge or experience in this matter, and that there is no evidence that Tough Trade developed any commercial activity since it was not registered in any heading of the Tax on Economic Activities until 2015, in which he did so in the one corresponding to “other technical services nec.” The main provider of funds in the bank accounts of Tough Trade has been the Swiss company Nehmo Holding SA. According to the prosecutor, the lawyer acted as a front man for the Delegate between 2006 and 2015 and the two companies of Delgado and that of Rodríguez Recio were used by the first to dispose of the amounts that it had received by int erven in the authorizations of the parks in favor of local entrepreneurs.
One of those businessmen was Alberto Esgueva, who, like Delgado, had been a senior official in the Ministry of Economy until he decided to do business on his own. Esgueva is the biggest beneficiary of the plot and was made with 53 million euros. Between the companies of Esgueva -which undertook important construction projects in Poland-, Delgado and Rodríguez Recio there are tangled operations for amounts of up to one million euros and transfer of floors. How Delgado benefited, who bought high-end cars paying up to 55,000 euros in cash without knowing the origin of the money, or a TV of almost 20,000 euros, is well understood with the summary made by the Tax Agency. In the tax returns for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013, 53,954.54, 24,000.00 and 14,200 euros, respectively, appear as work income. He also declared other small income from income from movable and real estate capital that represented a tax base of 52,157.93 euros; 20,083.11 euros and 9,522.59 euros. In this way, the result of the declarations was to be returned in 2011 (2,963.91 euros) and in 2012 (357.40 euros) and to be paid in 2013 (71.65 euros).
However, the AEAT estimates that the tax quotas for his personal income tax that corresponded to the true income of Rafael Delgado in said period were 104,332.76 euros, 128,647.45 euros and 206,700.38 6 respectively when understanding that the sum of income derived from the companies of which Delgado is a partner and administrator, as well as the expenses assumed directly by Tough Trade -which came to make donations of up to 20,000 euros for the school of Delgado’s children or to pay him the supplies of one of his homes- without consideration some, involves amounts of 113,000 euros in 2011, 256,000 euros in 2012 and 314,000 euros in 2013. Unjustified gains of 205,803.45; 105,336.00 and 395,737.13 and reduced net income derived from economic activity amounting to € 26,668.00 in 2011 and € 126,138.00 in 2012. To the above calculation must be added the amount of € 45,400 for cash income produced in the account Tough Trade bank in 2011, of unjustified origin, which, added to Rafael Delgado’s income, would represent a defrauded fee in that year of 124,762.76.
Who shared the loot
Thus, it seems obvious that Delgado earned a very small amount compared to the benefits obtained by the indicted entrepreneurs and that add up to 75 million. There are only two possibilities and they are not exclusive. One is that it has not been possible to find all the assets of the former vice-counselor, and another is that the loot was distributed among more people. It is at this point that the Public Ministry and the investigating judge have seen their hands tied, because although it points out that the mastermind of the plan is Tomás Villanueva, it has not been possible to investigate his assets, as he died during the investigation and thus extinguish their criminal responsibility.
On the other hand, and although the causes have been instructed separately but sharing part of the information, both the Wind Trap and Black Pearl, the case of the Ministry of Economy building with a millionaire cost overrun, share protagonists. In both proceedings, Rafael Delgado, the brothers Francisco and Alberto Esgueva, and Germán Martín Giraldo appear as defendants. Villanueva was charged until his death.