The investigation into Villarejo’s work at the BBVA will continue for up to six years after the judge approves the new extension

BBVA headquarters in Madrid.Paul Monge

National Court Judge Manuel García Castellón agreed to extend the judicial investigation again Jobs allegedly illegal That the retired commissioner José Manuel Viareggio has carried out for years in favor of the BBVA considering that on July 29, the date on which the investigation of the case was to end, “the relevant, various and varied measures considered necessary to clarify the facts” would not yet be carried out. In an order issued this Tuesday and to which EL PAS has been allowed access, the judge has set January 29, 2024 as a new date for the conclusion of the judicial investigations, and by that time the case that began on December 4, 2018 will be over six years old. The extension was upheld by the Office of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor and some of the accusations and defenses. among the latter, The former head of the entity, Francisco Gonzalez, the accused. Only the bank itself and Vilarego opposed it. García-Castellón’s decision can be appealed.

In the judicial decision – which is known a day after the dictation of the national court The first conviction of the retired commissioner Because of his illegal action to companies and individuals―, the judge points out that the current investigation period is “insufficient to complete the investigation” on the orders presented by BBVA to Villarejo, which took place between 2004 and 2017 and for which the retired policeman paid 10.3 million euros. “We are faced with a dynamic piece, in development and in which multiple actions are carried out in order to clarify with the greatest precision and concreteness the various facts that make up the subject of the operation,” says the judge in his order. Investigations make up Part 9 of the call case combinedthe macrosumario was opened to the police officer’s alleged criminal activities.

In this sense, the judge asserts that “the development of procedural practice [tras la anterior prórroga]In addition to the new procedures that were subsequently agreed upon, it highlighted that the relevant investigative procedures are still to be implemented,” points out the judge, who provided several details. Among them, the judge’s order highlights the detail of the experts who personally named the various parties to the expert reports from 2.3 million He hits (emails, files, and documents on bank hard drives) that PwC audit used to prepare, in 2019, a file Forensic Medicine Commissioned by the financial institution itself. García Castellón considers this measure “considered necessary, without which it cannot be confirmed that the investigation has been completed”. So far only one of the accusations leveled by businessman Luis del Rivero has been named.

The judge also notes that many witness statements still need to be made, and as a result, “the need to identify and define relevant facts, statements, or issues may arise.” In reality, Anti-Corruption opened the door last week to call for advertising as a witness The current president of the BBVA, Carlos Torres Villawho, despite being the number two of former President Francisco Gonzalez, has not yet been summoned to appear before the examining magistrate.

The judicial decision also serves for the judge to approve new measures, all of which are required by the fight against corruption. Thus, in addition to reminding the parties to appoint their experts to analyze He hits, requests new documents from the BBVA, although it acknowledges that the bank, in its defendant status as a legal entity, is under no obligation to deliver them. Specifically, it asks him about the various accounts he has about the internal rule of a “special interest in Christmas” (the judge investigates gift-giving to police officers) and the identity of Providers officers [responsables de cumplimiento normativo del banco] Who appointed him until 2018 for cases of bribery, privacy, corruption and crimes being investigated in the case.

In this way, García Castellón supports the arguments presented by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in the letter in which he supported the extension of the case and in which he highlighted, among the reasons that prevented the termination of the case, its complexity, with a large volume of documents (26 volumes, 8 607 pages, nearly 21,000 events and “multiple documentary evidence in separate electronic form”), case combined and the added difficulty of having to “first decode and then evaluate the massive, meddled documentary [al policía retirado] In multiple registers practiced”.

The extension represents a setback for the BBVA, which has repeatedly asked for an end to the investigation into the case. On this occasion, the defense of the financial entity took advantage of a decision of the Third Division of the National Supreme Court last week, in which the judges, despite rejecting a previous appeal of the bank against the previous extension, indicated that the judge should end the “investigation or judicial investigation” on July 29. In his message on Tuesday, García-Castillón rejected this argument, arguing that in compliance with this decision he should have, precisely, more time for the new procedure practices, considering it “the perfect way to provide what is necessary to complete these instructions.”

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