The judge of the National Court José Luis Calama, has decided to impute this Thursday to the former director of internal audit of Banco Popular, Yolanda García, for the alleged financing that the entity would have granted to clients to attend the 2016 capital increase.
As legal sources have informed Efe, the magistrate, visibly upset, has interrupted the questioning of García when just twenty minutes had elapsed and, by surprise, announced that she would be summoned as being investigated in the case.
This is the first accusation in the case since 2017, when the then head of the Central Court of Instruction number 4 admitted to processing several complaints against the former presidents of Popular, Ángel Ron and Emilio Saracho, their respective boards of directors, the external auditor and the firm PwC.
Coming from Banco Pastor, García joined the Popular audit department in 2012, and there he exercised his functions first under Ron’s mandate, and then, in 2017, with Saracho.
From the outset, the judge has focused on the alleged granting of loans to clients to attend the 2016 capital increase, a practice on which both Ron’s team and some territorial directors have denied that there were any instructions or orders.
It is one of the aspects that the first separate piece of the case investigates, and that is that it could assume that in practice the operation was financed with money from the bank itself.
In this sense, García has indicated that his department controlled how the sales operations had taken place, verifying that the commercialization of the shares had complied with the regulations, and that the clients were correctly qualified and had received all the information.
However, the sources of financing and the possibility that they had been granted loans to buy shares were not analyzed, something that “was not prohibited” as long as it was done correctly, that is, discounting them from the bank’s capital.
Even so, seeing it “in the past”, perhaps they should have controlled it, added the former director of internal audit, now retired, at the insistence of the judge, who has repeatedly asked if they did not examine whether there was possible financing.
As stated in the summary, after the change in the presidency, the new management team led by Emilio Saracho promoted the review of the bank’s statements, including the details of the last capital increase, which led to the restatement of the accounts 2016 that spring.
This restatement brought the losses of the previous year to 3,611 million euros, as reported by Popular to the market on April 3, 2017 in a relevant event in which it explained that this would cause an impact of around 550 million to be collected in the results of the first semester.
One of the reasons mentioned in that communication was the “customer financing that could have been used for the acquisition of shares in the capital increase carried out in May 2016, the amount of which, if verified, should be deducted in accordance with the regulations in force”.
However, it would have “no effect whatsoever on the result or the accounting net worth”, added the relevant fact, which put “the statistical estimate of the amount of these financing” at 205 million euros, “the total amount being analyzed by 426 million euros “.
A “MARGINAL THEME”
In his brief questioning as a witness, García has acknowledged that at the beginning of January 2017, the one who until then had been his boss, Jesús Arellano, left him a query on the loan computer for clients who had bought shares, although she considered it a “fringe issue”.
This statement has aroused the reaction of the magistrate, who has made him ugly that he did not see the issue or considered it marginal when it came to clients who had participated in the expansion with the financing of the bank.
At this point, Judge Calama has interrupted the appearance and has informed her that in the next few days she would be summoned as being investigated in the process.
The case ordered by the National Court began in October 2017 with the admission for processing of several complaints against the last two management teams of the entity for alleged corporate crimes.
The magistrate then opened two separate pieces, the first that investigates Ron’s team for the capital increase of 2,500 million euros that the entity undertook in 2016, and a second on the 108 days of Saracho’s mandate, which focuses in a possible crime of manipulating the market with false news to make the price fall