The Andalusian Parliament asks Calviño for Braulio Medel to leave the Unicaja Foundation | Economy

Braulio Medel (Marchena, Seville, 75 years old) has gone from being the untouchable man of Unicaja to the epicenter of all criticism about the situation of the bank. The president of the bank until 2016 and who is now the head of the Unicaja Foundation, the entity’s main shareholder with 30% of the capital, is the target of all darts. They come to him from everywhere. The last two, this Thursday. On one side, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation has acknowledged having “serious doubts” about Medel’s “necessary commercial and professional suitability and honorability to perform his functions”, questioning whether he continues to preside over the Unicaja Foundation. On the other hand, the Andalusian Parliament has been more direct in approving an initiative requesting the Government to dismiss him from office.

The demonstrations and the historic strike that Unicaja Banco experienced last fall served to publicize the period of turbulence in the financial institution, whose history had been marked by placidity until then. The merger with Liberbank was the starting point. The workers protested the dismissal of 15% of the workforce through an employment regulation file (ERE) and the low conditions with which the negotiation started after the absorption of the Asturian entity. However, there was also a bottom line: employees and unions denounced that Liberbank was taking more weight than it should have in the resulting company, despite the fact that its weight was only 40%. They pointed to Medel. They pointed out his maneuvers so that Manuel Azuaga, current president of Unicaja, lost weight in favor of Manuel Menéndez, his current number two and former CEO of Liberbank. This is what several patrons of the Unicaja Foundation have also denounced in recent months.

This week events have evolved rapidly and this Thursday they have rushed. In the morning, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, through the Protectorate of Banking Foundations, released a document —advanced by The confidential― sent to the Unicaja Foundation in which he says he has “serious doubts” that Medel has “the necessary commercial and professional suitability and honorability to perform his duties”. The first vice president, Nadia Calviño, had already been warning of her “concern about the noise” in Unicaja, but in the letter one more step is taken, almost irreversible, to cause the departure of the one who was the chief of the chiefs of the savings banks. savings of Andalusia. She now requests an independent report to find out if Medel —investigated by the Malaga Prosecutor’s Office— meets the requirements to remain in office and gives a period of two months to receive it.

In the afternoon, the Parliament of Andalusia urged the Government headed by Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla to “formally request” the Ministry of Economy “to declare the lack of suitability of the president of the Unicaja Foundation, Braulio Medel” to continue in office . The vote, at the initiative of United We Can, has gone ahead with 47 votes in favor (United We Can, Vox, Citizens and non-attached deputies) and 58 abstentions (from the PP and the PSOE). The two big parties have put themselves in profile and have shown the end of their traditional support for Medel. The spokesmen for the PP, Pablo Venzal, and for the PSOE, José Luis Ruiz Espejo, have justified their abstention in an abstruse manner, when it was evident that if they had pressed the button of the no the proposal against the manager would not have prospered. “What does Parliament do by ruling on something that has no powers?” Said the popular deputy. The Chamber has also approved asking the Andalusian Government to dismiss Antonio Jesús López Nieto as a representative of the Andalusian Government on the Board of Trustees of the Unicaja Foundation.

Unicaja is the fifth banking entity in Spain, but also the main one in the Andalusian community. And there is fear that the growing weight of the former heads of Liberbank will end up taking away from Malaga —and, therefore, from Andalusia— the company’s headquarters. In November, the employees already announced the dismantling of some services in the province. And Moreno Bonilla —absent this Thursday in the parliamentary vote— publicly denounced him this Tuesday. “Work units that were in Malaga or Ronda are being emptied of content,” he assured, while insisting that “under no circumstances” will his government allow Unicaja Banco’s headquarters to leave Malaga. “They have been turbulent for eight months. What is the economic vice president waiting for to make a decision regarding the president of the banking foundation?”, he asked himself.

Two weeks ago, during a visit to Seville, Nadia Calviño already expressed her concern about “the noise” in Unicaja. “I know that the Bank of Spain and the European Central Bank are also very concerned about the drift in the bank’s governance and we are analyzing what are the most effective measures, what would be the most appropriate instruments to get the situation back on track”, said the vice-president Prime Minister of the Government and Minister of Economic Affairs.

He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.


Now he has taken the initiative with the letter sent to the Unicaja Foundation. The letter has been sent after the Protectorate of Banking Foundations received protests from the Inter-Union Confederation of Credit and the Salvemos Unicaja platform, led by Pedro Moreno Brenes, former IU spokesman at the Malaga City Council and former patron of the banking foundation. Four other employers also denounced in writing the agreement for the renewal of the four directors of the Unicaja Foundation in the bank, all related to Medel and which was confirmed this Monday (in the absence of ratification at the general meeting of shareholders of the bank). They all pointed in the same direction: Azuaga’s loss of power to the benefit of Menéndez.

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