Spain: dismissal in a spy case for the boss of Iberdrola

The president of Iberdrola, Ignacio Sanchez Galan, during the presentation of annual results, February 20, 2008 in Madrid (AFP/Philippe Desmazes)

Spanish justice announced Thursday that it had dismissed the investigation targeting the president of the energy group Iberdrola, implicated in a vast espionage scandal between large companies involving a sulphurous ex-policeman.

Ignacio Sanchez Galan, one of Spain’s most powerful bosses, was charged in June 2021 with “active corruption”, “invasion of privacy” and “falsification of documents”.

He was accused of having hired former police officer José Manuel Villarejo in the late 2000s to spy on two other bosses, including Florentino Pérez, number one of the construction group ACS and president of Real Madrid, whom he suspected of wanting 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, opposed to the construction of a power station by Iberdrola.

After a year of investigation, the magistrate in charge of the case judged “prescribed” the offenses for which Mr. Galan was prosecuted, indicated in a press release the court of the National Audience.

The elements gathered have indeed shown that “the participation of Mr. Sanchez Galan in the facts under investigation” stopped in 2009, and not in 2017, as had initially been envisaged, explains the press release.

The limitation period for this type of offense being ten years, the judge considered that there was “no other choice” than to dismiss the case for the boss of Iberdrola, as well as for two other senior company executives charged on the same charges, he added.

Implicated in numerous cases involving the Spanish elite and described as a “blackmailer” by the head of government Pedro Sanchez, José Manuel Villarejo, 70, is accused of having taken advantage of his functions to record without their knowledge hundreds of personalities and mount discredit campaigns on behalf of prestigious clients.

The actions of this ex-policeman have put the former king Juan Carlos in delicacy and splashed several big names on the Ibex 35, the star index of the Madrid Stock Exchange, but also magistrates and politicians, like of Mariano Rajoy’s former conservative interior minister, Jorge Fernandez Diaz, or of the former socialist justice minister, Dolores Delgado.

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

© 2022 AFP

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