The writer and lawyer Ildefonso Falcones and his wife, María del Carmen Rosich, sat on the bench this Wednesday accused of defrauding the Treasury 1.4 million euros between 2009 and 2011 for the copyright of the novels ‘La Catedral del Mar’, ‘La mano de Fátima’ and ‘La reina descalza’. Prosecutor Pedro Castro claims for them nine years in prison and fines amounting to 2.9 million. An inspector from the Tax agency explained in the first session of the trial held in Barcelona the framework that, according to the accusation, was used to avoid paying taxes in Spain and that was made up of companies from the Dominican Republic, Cyprus, Ireland and the Cayman Islands. The novelist has another process open for non-payment of taxes in 2013 and 2014.
The judicial battle began in minute one with the previous questions raised by the prosecution, the State Attorney and the defenses. What if there were documents in English and Greek that were not officially translated, what if the Tax Agency was competent or not to investigate simulated businesses in prescribed years, what if such an expert should appear or not. Almost two hours of debate that foreshadowed the hand-to-hand fight that, later, was reproduced with the witnesses, took place. The writer and his wife will declare the last. That is, this Thursday or Friday.
From the outset, some of the witnesses who have already testified, including employees of the publishing house that published ‘La Catedral del Mar’ and the novelist’s former literary agent, threw a cloak at Falcones, stating, as he writes himself, that it was Rafael, the deceased brother, the one who handled the financial affairs. At the trial, you will hear the statement made by Rafael in court and in which he assumed paternity of the operations. Both the writer and his wife took advantage of the 2012 tax amnesty and 195,000 euros each emerged from undeclared income from 2009.
The transfer of copyright
The accusation maintains that Falcones, defended by the lawyer Emilio Zegrí, and his wife, “in order to avoid due payment of tax obligations“and” assisted “by the brother,” they devised a system “by which they transferred the copyrights of the works to foreign companies that apparently had no” formal “relationship with the marriage. Thus, in 2004 the writer yielded to a his and his wife’s company (Bufete Falcones) the rights to ‘La Catedral del Mar’ in exchange for 3,000 euros. A year later, this firm transferred 80% of the economic rights over this work for an amount of 60,929 euros to a Dominican company (Inversiones Neagh).
The following year, in 2006, Bufete Falcones commissioned the writer up to 10 literary works in exchange for an annual remuneration of 36,000 euros, keeping the company 80% of the rights over them. 70% of these rights were later sold to the Dominican company for 250,660 euros. However, according to the prosecution, the joint ownership was actually held by other companies: an Irish and a Cypriot. The latter, in turn, owned by a Cayman Islands firm.