The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office requests a sentence of 70 years in prison for the former vice president of the Aznar Government
MADRID, 14 Dic. (EUROPA PRESS) -
The trial against the former super minister of Economy of the Aznar Government, Rodrigo Rato, will begin this Friday in the Provincial Court of Madrid and will extend its sessions until the end of May. The Prosecutor's Office requests a prison sentence of up to 70 years for him for 11 crimes against the Public Treasury, one crime of money laundering, another of punishable insolvency, another of business corruption, and another continued crime of document falsification. official and commercial in the framework of the case regarding the alleged illicit increase of his assets. He would have defrauded the Treasury of 8.5 million euros.
According to the indictment of the Public Prosecutor's Office, collected by Europa Press, the man who was also president of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would have maintained hidden assets from the Public Treasury since 1999 through various companies with which he would have carried out continuous fraud activities. financial investment through bank accounts in the Bahamas, Switzerland, Monaco, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom, among other places.
The analysis of the seized documentation, the Prosecutor's Office noted, made it possible to identify unjustified increases in assets between 2005 and 2015 for a total amount of 15.6 million euros, in addition to income from movable capital abroad that was also not declared to the Treasury. In light of such documentation, and according to the report of July 7, 2020 carried out by the AEAT Unit attached to the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, they concluded that fees amounting to 7.4 million euros were defrauded.
The Prosecutor's Office also recalled that Rato took advantage of the tax amnesty in November 2012 and pointed out that he omitted any reference to several companies he owned, thus declaring assets abroad of 115,333.50 euros and paying the Spanish Treasury €11,533.35.
Anti-corruption indicated in this regard that Rato, "far from having regularized either administratively or, even less, criminally, his fortune, he actually used the special tax declaration (DTE) as a vehicle for laundering or cleaning up the illicit defrauded contributions that he carried." for years because of its foreign heritage".
For all the alleged crimes, Anticorruption requested a sentence of 70 years in prison for him: between 4 and 6 years for each of the eleven crimes against the Public Treasury, 6 years for the crime of money laundering, 4 for the crime of punishable insolvency , another 4 for the crime of corruption in business, and, finally, 3 for the crime of document falsification, in addition to the corresponding fines and accessory penalties and compensation to the tax administration for the amounts defrauded in each of the years. indicated prosecutors.
In this trial, the case will be heard in its entirety for Rato, given that in 2019 the Provincial Court decided to annul the prosecution related to the piece in which the alleged collection of 835,000 euros in commissions by the former president of the Monetary Fund was investigated. International and president of Caja Madrid for contracting Bankia's advertising for its IPO with two specific agencies. For this matter, the Prosecutor's Office requested four years in prison.
The Court ordered the head of the Investigative Court number 31 of Madrid to accumulate all the pieces that make up the well-known 'Rato case' to turn it into a single process. The magistrates explained in their order that in this way they would avoid "contradictory statements" that could arise if the ten pieces that were open to clarify the origin of Rato's assets were judged separately.
In an order dated September of this year, to which Europa Press had access, Section number 7 of this provincial hearing ruled on the evidence to be practiced in the plenary session and which was interested by both the Prosecutor's Office and the State Attorney's Office and the up to 12 defendants. In this sense, in addition to admitting the testimony of the accused and the representatives of the accused companies to the Public Prosecutor's Office, around twenty testimonies and several experts from the Treasury and specialized police units were approved.
Regarding the evidence proposed by Rato's defense, the court agreed to most of the requests for testimonies although it denied former Minister Rafael Catalá to testify given that, he claimed, his testimony was proposed due to alleged statements made in a general manner and that it was not were relevant to the prosecution of the acts allegedly committed by the accused.
Nor did he accept the testimony of Santiago Menéndez, who was director of the Tax Agency between 2013 and 2018, and who also proposed the defense of the former minister. He asked him to testify "in relation to his public statements about the investigations prior to the early complaint carried out by the officials he directed" and that led to the initiation of the case. It should be remembered that the Investigative Court Number 31 of Madrid, where this matter has been investigated, issued an order to open an oral trial in June 2021.
Already in September 2020, José María Aznar's former vice president learned of the ruling of the National Court that acquitted him for the 2011 listing of Bankia, an entity he directed at that time.
Prior to hearing this acquittal, he was already sentenced by the National Court to four and a half years for the case of the 'black' cards of the extinct Caja Madrid, a sentence that was confirmed in October 2018 by the Supreme Court and that forced him to enter the Madrid prison of Soto del Real.
The case being followed in the Madrid courts began with more than a dozen pieces, most of them secret, for possible fraud against the Treasury due to unpaid personal income tax contributions. The former vice president has always defended his innocence in this case and has attacked the Prosecutor's Office for believing the "nonsense" conclusions made by the Central Operational Unit (UCO) of the Civil Guard in its reports, whom he has accused of carrying out a "prospective" investigation. ".
And this was also stated the last time that Rato appeared before the investigating judge Antonio Serrano-Arnal on July 30, 2018, when he denied having laundered and stated before the media that all his money is legal and "it is perfectly justified and explained." "thanks to the expert reports that his defense has presented throughout the entire investigation.
In the UCO report incorporated into the summary of this case, the investigators maintain that Rato took advantage of the privatization process of state-owned companies such as Repsol, Endesa or Telefónica to "place" trusted people in management positions and obtain "substantial advertising contracts."
The judge noted that these contracts were made "for excessive amounts" and estimated the total turnover from the companies privatized with the companies controlled by Rato at 71,902,822 euros.