March 31, 2023

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Spain: Iberdrola chief sacked in espionage case

The Spanish justice announced on Thursday that it had rejected the investigation targeting the head of the energy group “Iberdrola”, which is implicated in a massive spying scandal among major companies that implicated a former policeman, Sulfur.

Ignacio Sanchez Galán, one of Spain’s most powerful presidents, was charged in June 2021 with “active corruption”, “infringement of privacy” and “document falsification”.

He was accused of hiring ex-police officer Jose Manuel Villarejo in the late 2000s to spy on two other presidents, including Florentino Pérez, number one in the ACS construction group and president of Real Madrid, who was suspected of wanting to rise in the capital of Iberdrola.

The investigation also extended to a contract with the former official to monitor the activities of some residents of the Andalusian village of Arcos de la Frontera, who are opposed to the construction of a power station by Iberdrola.

After a year of investigation, the judge in charge of the case deemed the crimes for which Mr. Galan was prosecuted as “prescribed,” according to a press release from the Court of National Audience.

Elements already collected showed that “Mr Sanchez Galán’s participation in the facts under investigation” ceased in 2009, and not in 2017, as initially envisaged, the press release explains.

The statute of limitations for this type of offense is ten years, and the judge considered that there was “no other choice” but to dismiss the case for the president of Iberdrola, as well as for two other senior executives of the company accused of the same charges. added.

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Involved in many cases involving the Spanish elite and which Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called a “blackmailer”, Jose Manuel Viareggio, 70, is accused of taking advantage of his duties of scoring hundreds of figures and climbing without their knowledge. Campaigns to discredit prestigious clients.

The actions of this former policeman made the former King Juan Carlos in purity and pelted many of the big names in the IBEX 35, the star index of the Madrid Stock Exchange, as well as judges and politicians, such as the former conservative Minister of the Interior of Mariano Rajoy, Jorge Fernandez Diaz, or the former Socialist Minister of Justice Dolores Delgado.

The former officer, who spent more than three years in pretrial detention before being released in March 2021, was on trial for eight months in another part of this sprawling case.