The Malaga Prosecutor’s Office has opened criminal investigation proceedings against the president of the Unicaja Foundation, Braulio Medel, an institution that is the main shareholder of Unicaja Banco. The procedure has been launched after the Inter-Union Credit Confederation (CIC) filed a complaint last January accusing Medel of the crimes of misappropriation and unfair administration. The Salvemos Unicaja platform also denounced him in December before the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, which has transferred the complaint to Malaga, without the Malaga prosecutor’s office having taken any steps yet. In 2015, Medel was charged by the Seville Court in the ERE case, although he was finally acquitted.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office has requested that “the appropriate investigation procedures” be initiated to clarify the reported facts, as reported by EFE. The prosecutor will study the crimes that, from the CIC’s point of view, the current president of the Unicaja Foundation, an institution that owns 30.24% of Unicaja Banco and is its largest shareholder, allegedly committed. as he advanced The confidential, the complaint of the union organization reports, on the one hand, the alleged collection of diets in an irregular manner by Medel for attending the boards of directors of several companies. And remember that the Bank of Spain opened a file for having received up to three million euros in allowances between 2007 and 2011 as a director and advisor to Iberdrola.
On the other hand, the document presented by CIC considers the existence of a payment of one million euros from the banking entity to companies close to the Association of Users and Banking Services (Ausbanc) so that, in theory, the banker’s imputation in the case of the ERE of Andalusia. That economic operation was proven in the trial of the so-called Ausbanc Case and the head of the entity, Luis Pineda, was sentenced to eight years in prison for this and other events. Medel came out intact, despite the fact that the Economic and Fiscal Crime Unit (UDEF) of the National Police considered that he had an “active role” in the events. It is the main reason why Salvemos Unicaja filed a complaint with the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, which referred the case to the one in Seville and this one to the one in Malaga, which is still studying it.
The opening of investigative proceedings against the president of the Unicaja Foundation adds another problem to an entity that is experiencing convulsive months, as has also happened with Unicaja, despite the fact that its results continue to be positive and in 2021 it will obtain a profit of 137 million euros , 47% more than the previous year. Workers and unions participated last November in the first strike in the company’s history. They did so as a protest and in disagreement over the conditions set forth by the company in the negotiation of the employment regulation file for the departure of 1,513 employees and the process of closing 395 offices, an agreement that was finally closed in December.
In their protests, staff and unions included a growing sense of Unicaja’s loss of power against Liberbank after the merger of both last summer and despite the fact that the Andalusian is the majority on the board of directors. This is what several patrons of the Unicaja Foundation also raised later, questioning that Manuel Menéndez, CEO from Liberbank, has acquired more power than, they believe, corresponds to him, which has confronted him with the president of the bank, Manuel Azuaga.
Representatives of different political parties also expressed their doubts and even became part of the Salvemos Unicaja platform, chaired by Pedro Moreno Brenes —new lawyer of the Supreme Court and former spokesperson for the municipal group Izquierda Unida in Malaga—. The PP, which initially joined, in the end, stepped aside. A manifesto published by Salvemos Unicaja recalled that Medel tried to sell Unicaja to Banco Santander “to guarantee a position on the board of directors of one of the big ones,” according to the document.
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