8 Feb, 2022 @ 15:00
1 min read

Spain’s fat cats under renewed investigation over corporate spying

iberdrola Ignacio Sanchez Galan
Iberdrola. Ignacio Galan, president of Iberdrola Photo: Cordon Press

SEVERAL of Spain’s most powerful businessmen are once again implicated in a far-reaching spying scandal.

On Monday Spain’s High Court has placed Antonio Brufau, chairman of oil company Repsol, and Isidro Faine, former chairman of Spain’s Caixabank, under formal investigation for a second time as part of a decade-old alleged spying case.

Last month Iberdrola’s Chief Executive Ignacio Sanchez Galan appeared before a judge as part of the same spying case.

All are being investigated over allegations that they contracted a security firm belonging to the disgraced former police chief Jose Manuel Villarejo to spy on rivals.

Villarejo Screenshot La Sexta Tv Documentary
Jose Manuel Villarejo pictured in a documentary on La Sexta.

The court is investigating whether Iberdrola hired Villarejo’s private intelligence services company Cenyt to spy on Real Madrid soccer club president Florentino Perez when Perez’s construction company ACS was fighting for a seat on Iberdrola’s board in 2009.

While Repsol and Caixabank are being investigated over hiring the security firm to spy on Luis del Rivero in 2011 and 2012, when he was chairman of Sacyr.

Villarejo, 69, who is on remand facing separate charges of bribery, money laundering and operating a criminal organisation, combined spy work for blue-chip companies while he was police commissioner.

His shenanigans have also rocked the political establishment implicating a veritable Who’s Who of Spain’s elite from former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to King Juan Carlos.

Villarejo is also alleged to have carried out massive spying on behalf of BBVA bank. He is also accused of spying on Catalan pro-independence politicians and creating false corruption files to smear the left-wing party Podemos.

Iberdrola has previously said that Sanchez Galan and three other executives under investigation have done nothing wrong and are open to cooperating with judicial authorities.

While Caixabank’s Faine, and Repsol’s Brufau have previously denied wrongdoing.

Under the Spanish judicial system no formal charges are brought until the first phase of investigation is completed so being placed under investigation does not necessarily mean formal indictment.


Fiona Govan

Fiona Govan joined The Olive Press in March 2021. She moved to Spain in 2006 to be The Daily Telegraph’s Madrid correspondent and then worked for six years as Editor of The Local Spain. She lives in Madrid’s Malasaña district with her dog Rufus.

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