Pimco goes on the offensive in the Popular case with the Bank of Spain mails

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This article was originally published in the El Confidencial on 21st May 2020.

AUTHOR: JORGE ZULOAGA

The U.S. fund and others who lost hundreds of millions in Popular believe the Bank case can be repeated with mails like Inspector Casaus.

The big international funds try to replicate the strategy of the Bank case in the criminal investigation of Banco Popular Pimco, Algebris and Anchorage, which lost hundreds of millions in the 2017 resolution, have gone on the offensive in the case being investigated by the Audiencia Nacional. On the one hand, they have requested new charges and witness statements, and on the other they have asked the judge for the internal mails of the Banco de España and the ECB on the supervision of the institution historically presided over by Ángel Ron.

The Anglo-Saxon funds, represented by attorney Daniel Jimenez, suspect that, as in Bank, there was a division of opinion about the status of Popular within the regulator. They are looking for mails such as those of inspector José Antonio Casaus, who promoted the investigation into the case whose trial ended last October, even leading to the indictment of senior officials of the Bank of Spain and the CNMV for a few months.

“It is relevant to examine and analyse the internal emails exchanged by the regulators’ supervision and inspection teams because, as has been shown in other similar cases (Bankia case), they can be decisive in ascertaining the opinion that these expert bank regulators and bank insiders had at any given time about the real economic situation of the institution and which people were aware of it and at what specific time,” states the fund’s brief, to which this medium has had access

Therefore, international investors are calling for mailings between Banco de España inspection teams and those with Popular executives between 2012 and 2016 and those with ECB executives between 2014 and 2017.

Linde-Botín connection

In addition, Pimco and the other two funds have requested the emails exchanged between former Governor Luis María Linde and the President of Santander, Ana Botín, in May and June 2017, “to which Mr. Linde made reference in the statement given before the examining magistrate’s court on 11 March 2020”. “It should be remembered that, according to Mr Linde, Mrs Botín told him, in an initial communication, that Banco Santander had studied the situation of Banco Popular and was not interested in buying it, but, on the other hand, in a second e-mail, she indicated that she would participate in the award of the bank”, he added.

In addition to the couriers, this accusation demands that Judge José Luis Calama issue a series of summonses, as defendants and witnesses. As those under investigation, it calls for the attendance of the former financial director of the Popular, Francisco Sancha; the former director of Compliance, Juan José Rubio; the former director of the Legal, Tomás Pereira; and two people linked to the Luxembourg companies to Thesan Capital: Santiago Burgaleta and María Soledad Burgaleta.

Among the witnesses were former Popular executives such as Yolanda García (Internal Audit), Carmen Rivera (Risk), Miguel Ángel del Moral (Technical Secretariat) and Luis Mohedano (Speech); Banco de España executives such as Mariano Herrera and Francisco Monzón; CNMV executives such as Eduardo Manso; and ECB executives such as Ramón Quintana and Ignacio Pardo.

With this type of measure, Pimco wants to revitalise a case that had to suspend the statements of Luis de Guindos, Vice-President of the ECB, and of Botín, due to the confinement.