Criticizes the retrospective bias of the reviews on appraisals and accredited by experts from the Bank of Spain
MADRID, 25 Ene. (EUROPA PRESS) -
The PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) auditor José María Sanz Olmeda, who coordinated the audits of Banco Popular's annual accounts between 2009 and 2015, defended this Wednesday before the judge of the National Court that he is investigating the alleged accounting irregularities committed in 2016 in the entity the veracity of the calculations.
Legal sources have explained to Europa Press that in his statement before magistrate José Luis Calama, which has lasted more than four hours, Sanz Olmeda has assumed and defended the work carried out by PwC both in accounting matters and in the procedure followed to carry out out the bank appraisals.
In this context, the auditor would have criticized the retrospective bias of the reviews on appraisals and accredited by the experts of the Bank of Spain. According to Sanz Olmeda, the review of the quality of the assets carried out by the ECB in 2014 with the collaboration of Deloitte already took into account the borrowers that were later examined in the inspection.
The person in charge of PwC has also argued before the head of the Central Court of Instruction Number 4 that there was no retrospective application of Circular 4/2016, for which reason the Board of Banco Popular would have entered the calculations correctly.
Sanz Olmeda, according to the aforementioned sources, would have explained that his interlocutor was normally the controller and that he never had meetings with the Board of Directors or with the then president of Popular, Ángel Ron. The only meeting they had, he added, was before the Supreme Court issued a sentence referring to the floor clauses.
In relation to appraisals, the auditor has indicated that PwC used common criteria similar to those it followed with other of its clients. Thus, he has indicated that it was the appraisers that were in charge of these procedures through independent technical experts, that the bank or the auditor did not intervene and that they did not detect deficiencies in the entity's appraisals.
Finally, Sanz Olmeda has maintained that at no time were there any requirements from PwC or from the supervisors that Banco Popular did not comply with.
Sanz Olmeda's statement comes after the judge accepted the request of various private accusations and, with the approval of the Prosecutor's Office, agreed to call him to court. In an order, the magistrate explained that "the arduous and complex investigation carried out" has gradually outlined some facts that provisionally allow us to affirm that "the 2015 annual accounts of Banco Popular concealed a deficit in provisions generated by conscious non-compliance with the accounting standards contained in annex IX of Bank of Spain Circular 4/2004".
Thus, the magistrate recalled in that order that PwC was the audit firm of Banco Popular during the years 2015 and before and that José María Sanz Olmeda was the head of the audit in the planning and execution of the audit work in said financial entity from 2009 to 2015.
"From what has been learned so far, it can be affirmed that the PwC auditors did not detect the significant shortfalls in provisions caused by an abnormal credit classification -from the point of view of risk- and by an accounting management of the foreclosed assets, which, to a large extent , deviated from compliance with the aforementioned annex IX of Circular 4/2004", Calama pointed out at the time.
It should be remembered that Judge Calama recently requested a new expansion of the report from the Bank of Spain experts Teodoro Fernández and Álvaro López after a series of doubts arose in their statement in court. Legal sources have indicated that the magistrate is still waiting to receive this document.
These movements are part of the case in which the magistrate is investigating two phases of the Popular's resolution process: the alleged accounting irregularities of the entity in 2016, with the capital increase, and the leaks to the press a year later that would have caused its resolution in mid-2017.