Spanish prosecutor asks court to put BBVA under investigation in spying case
25 Jul 2019

Spain’s anti-corruption prosecutor has asked Spain’s High Court to put the country’s second-biggest bank, BBVA, under formal investigation as part of a probe into an alleged spying case, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Wednesday.

The move was widely expected as part of the investigation into the hiring by BBVA of ex-police chief, Jose Manuel Villarejo.

News websites El Confidencial and Moncloa.com reported in January that Spain’s second-biggest bank had hired Jose Manuel Villarejo’s firm, Grupo Cenyt, to investigate officials of construction company Sacyr (SCYR.MC) as part of efforts to stop a takeover bid by the company in 2004.

BBVA’s executive Chairman Carlos Torres, in a statement on Wednesday, reiterated his “firm commitment to clarifying the facts and complying with the law, for which we will continue to collaborate actively with the judicial system.”

The bank has officially acknowledged that it hired Grupo Cenyt, a security firm owned by Villarejo, who was arrested in 2017 as part of a separate investigation and remains in jail. But it says it has not found any evidence of spying.

The prosecutor said in the statement that it wanted BBVA (BBVA.MC) to be put under investigation “as a legal entity for acts that would constitute offences of bribery, disclosure of secrets and corruption in business.”

It added that documents seized during the investigation would prove that the hiring and allegedly illegal payments to grupo Cenyt, a security firm owned by Villarejo, affected several sensitive areas of the bank and various executives of the institution, without naming them.

By Jesús Aguado, Reuters, 24 July 2019

Read more at Reuters

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