The Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office requests more than 61 years in prison for the former president of Bankia and former Minister of Economy Rodrigo Rato for eleven tax crimes with a defrauded quota of more than 8.5 million euros in ten years, plus crimes of money laundering, punishable insolvency, corruption in business and documentary falsification.
This is the case related to the alleged commissions that Rato, being president of Caja Madrid-Bankia would have been charged between January 2010 and May 2012 for advertising contracts that the entity signed with Publicis Y Zenith related to the merger and IPO of the new bank and for which the former minister will soon sit on the bench.
In its indictment, the Prosecutor’s Office maintains that “there are rational indications” of the “undue” charge of 835,059.97 euros for these contracts between 2011 and 2012 through a company owned by the also accused Alberto Portuondo, at the time adviser in Bankia. According to it, that company charged commissions to the advertising companies hired by the bank “and a part of them” traveled to another company controlled by Rodrigo Rato “protected under an alleged advisory contract.”
However, the higher penalties are not requested for these transactions but for the eleven alleged tax crimes and another of money laundering that surfaced during the investigation, followed in the Examining Court number 31 of Madrid, and corresponding to the years from 2005 to 2015, both included, with a defrauded quota that exceeds 8.5 million euros.
In this period of time, “unjustified capital increases for a total amount of 15,633,056.87 euros have been identified, in addition to income from movable capital abroad also not declared to tax authorities“, According to the indictment, which asks for between four and six years in prison for each of the crimes against the Treasury and six for money laundering.
Hidden heritage since 1999
«Rodrigo Rato has maintained since 1999 a hidden patrimony to the Spanish Treasury through various companies. Using such entities, it would have carried out continuous financial investment activities through a multitude of bank accounts opened in Bahamas, Switzerland, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Monaco, among other places, in an operation unknown to the public estate and that they would have constituted taxable events from 2005 to 2015 ”, he highlights.
Specific, Anti-corruption has identified «unjustified equity increases between 2005 and 2015 for a total amount of € 15,633,056.87, in addition to income from movable capital abroad also not declared to tax authorities».
As he relates, in these operations, Rato’s ex-brother-in-law would have played a relevant role, Santiago Alarcó and the tax advisor Domingo Plazas, who will sit with him on the bench. The first is attributed the management of its accounts abroad and the management of its corporate structures and the second, the administration of one of those companies in Spain and repatriation “part of the amounts laundered through omnibus accounts” titled by a trust in Gibraltar.
Anti-corruption has reached these conclusions from the documentation intervened in different entries and records, which has also shown that «Rato has also titled accounts in the United States and Switzerland unknown to the Spanish Treasury, which has operated through accounts in low-tax territories such as the Island of Man, Kuwait and Curaçao and that it has allegedly used financial structures to carry out covert cross-border movements of money through trust and opaque companies ”.
Tax regularization as money laundering
«All amounts hidden from tax authorities they would have also been subjected to laundering mechanics by the defendant, “he describes Anti-corruption, which has isolated up to “eight mechanisms” including the so-called “Lombard credit”, which would have allowed it “to obtain very flexible lines of financing with the guarantee of its large portfolio of securities.”
They also include the former minister’s own investments in a German company for a hotel complex, “the millionaire capital increases” of his British merchant Vivaway and its subsidiary Kradonara «And even the declarations made to the Treasury under forms 750 (Special Tax Declaration) and 720 (Declarations of assets and rights abroad), used for the purpose of cleaning up the illicit origin of the assets, which the accused has tried to reintegrate into lawful commercial activity ”.
In this regard, it recalls that the defendant in November 2012 accepted the tax amnesty and declared the company Red Rose Finantial “Omitting any reference to other companies that he himself had, thus declaring assets abroad of 115,333.50 euros and paying the Spanish Treasury 11,533.35 euros.”
«Far from having regularized neither administratively nor, even less, criminally … he actually used the DTE as a vehicle for the laundering or cleaning of the illicit defrauded quotas that it had been dragging for years for its foreign assets, ”prosecutors say.