January 19, 2021

«Irregular practices» in the old dome of Banco Popular

«Irregular practices» in the old dome of Banco Popular

The National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) detected, in relation to the 2016 Banco Popular accounts, "irregular practices" of senior executives, including the former president Angel Ron or the former CEOs Pedro Larena, Roberto Higuera and Francisco Gómez.

In October 2018, the CNMV informed of the opening of a file for a "very serious" infringement against Popular, the executive directors, the members of its audit committee and its financial director, for "aspects" related to the annual accounts of 2016, of which the bank reported in April 2017.

The report justifying the opening of this file is already in the hands of the head of the Central Court of Instruction number 4, José Luis Calama, who is investigating the liquidation of the bank, and among other irregularities refers to accounting adjustments of more than 209 million euros. euros that actually amounted to 387 million.

This discrepancy leads the CNMV to conclude that "the consolidated financial information for the year 2016 did not represent the true image of its financial situation", so it opened a file to "the management and senior management bodies for having supplied the CNMV regulated financial information with inaccurate or inaccurate information, or misleading information or that omits aspects or relevant data, "according to Efe.

The CNMV sees "intentionality of certain senior executives" in the adjustments for insufficiency in certain provisions made with respect to risks in the loan portfolio, and considers that the entity "broke down regulatory capital ratios better than the real ones", for not having deduced certain financing to customers.

Specifically, 239 million euros were used for the acquisition of shares in the capital increase carried out in May 2016.

The sanctioning file, whose processing is suspended due to an open criminal process, does not cover the entire Board of Directors, but rather "those with responsibility for the matters analyzed": the former president Angel Ron; the former vice president José María Arias Mosquera; the former CEOs Pedro Larena and Roberto Higuera, and the former directors Francisco Aparicio and Jorge Oroviogoicochea.

In addition, the CNMV has detected "the active participation of certain members of senior management," such as former financial director Javier Moreno and former CEO Francisco Gómez, "in carrying out irregular practices."

Moreno was the one who proposed the reallocation of provisions to cover those required by the European Central Bank (ECB), and "had knowledge or, at least indications", of the financing of the acquisition of shares, without verifying that said amount was deducted from the capital regulatory of the bank.

Francisco Gómez, on the other hand, would have transmitted "verbal instructions in a veiled manner" so that customers could be financed to attend the 2016 capital increase, according to the file.

In October of 2017, the then head of the court, Fernando Andreu, admitted to process several lawsuits against the former presidents of Popular Angel Ron and Emilio Saracho, their respective boards of directors, PwC and their audit partner, for alleged crimes of corporate fraud, unfair administration and misappropriation, among others.

The magistrate thus agreed to open two separate pieces, the first one due to the capital increase of 2016, and the second for a possible manipulation of the market after the publication of news with supposedly false data and information to make the value of the actions and obtain benefits.

More than a year later, the statements of the defendants are awaiting the first expert report made by the experts contributed by the Bank of Spain from the huge documentation, which includes data on the compensation to details of business plans and audit reports


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