Prosecutor of the 'Villarjo case' asks to prosecute BBVA with an oral trial in the middle of the takeover bid for Sabadell

Prosecutor of the 'Villarjo case' asks to prosecute BBVA with an oral trial in the middle of the takeover bid for Sabadell

The prosecutor of the 'Villarjo case', Alejandro Cabaleiro, has asked Judge Manuel García Castellón this month to open an oral trial against Bbva, former president Francisco González and several directors and former directors of the entity for alleged crimes of bribery and revelation of secrets.

The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office has requested that an oral trial be opened against the former president of Bbva Francisco González, BBVA itself as a legal entity and eleven other people for bribery and revelation of secrets in relation to the bank's hiring for 12 years of the intelligence company Cenyt, controlled by the then active police officer José Manuel Villarejo.

Neither Carlos Torres nor Onur Genç are accused in this case. The only BBVA executive against whom the Prosecutor's Office is asking to open an oral trial is Joaquín Gortari, former chief of staff of Francisco González and currently responsible for Internal Audit at BBVA.

According to Bloomberg and legal sources confirm to Expansión, the investigation “has made it clear, widely and indisputably” that BBVA should go to trial, according to prosecutor Alejandro Cabaleiro in a letter dated May 17.

Judge Manuel García Castellón, investigator of the case, has been trying to close the investigation phase since January. But he was pending the completion of some expert tests. According to legal sources, the logical thing is that the Prosecutor's Office would have waited to publish this document, which due to its content is comparable to an accusation document, until the formal closure of the investigation, which is expected within a few weeks or months.

Since 2019, the National Court has been investigating whether BBVA committed criminal acts when hiring Cenyt between 2004 and 2017. That is, if his senior managers knew that Villarejo was an active police officer and if they knew about the alleged illegal means he used, such as interception of communications and personal monitoring.

The Public Ministry considers that BBVA is criminally responsible in this case because it is proven that “the crime prevention and control mechanisms have failed.”

“The Executive Presidency and Senior Managers did not comply with, or did not respect, such Codes (of conduct and internal control)”, argues.

According to the Prosecutor's Office, BBVA hired Cenyt “with the express acquiescence of its Executive President, Francisco González.”

“Given the absence of any control and supervision program over his (Francisco González's) executive decisions within the entity, the president authorized and permitted Cenyt's activity, guaranteeing a very small core of Senior Managers and Managers from within the entity's central corporate services who knew about it,” the letter explains.

“The truth is that the process followed (for the hiring of Cenyt) did not comply with the regulations, neither for the purchase, nor for the accounting and billing,” he adds.

“The investigation carried out so far in this separate piece has clearly and indisputably revealed, in the opinion of the Public Prosecutor's Office, that the requirements are met to issue a continuation order for the procedures of the abbreviated procedure against Bbva in order for it to be subjected to an oral trial as a criminally responsible legal entity,” he concludes.

If Bbva is convicted, it is exposed to paying a financial fine.

The Prosecutor's Office considers that there is sufficient evidence that “no mechanism was designed” for the possible execution of acts contrary to the rules ordered by Bbva's senior management.

“There are abundant emails in which favor/trust treatment can be seen in response to Bbva requests to the police, treatment of which there are indications which was known both by Senior Management and by the Board of Directors itself”, says the writing.