The current president of CaixaBank, José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, denied this Monday to the National Court judge Manuel García-Castellón that he knew, while he was CEO of BBVA between the end of 2001 and September 2009, that the commissioner José Manuel Villarejo worked for the entity. Goirigolzarri, who testified as a witness, has ruled out that, contrary to what is stated in an intervened note to the police, he was aware of his work to stop, in 2004, the attempt by businessman Luis del Rivero to gain control of BBVA. In his unchecking of the allegedly irregular activities of Villarejo, the head of CaixaBank has openly pointed to what was then his subordinate, the former director Ángel Cano, charged in the case, as one of the charges who was aware of the hiring of the police and whom he has accused of disloyalty for hiding this information from him.
He has also added that he “logically” believes that the then president, Francisco González, made the decision to hire him. “Who could give the hiring order bypassing you, who was the number two?”, Asked the lawyer of one of the accused. After trying to evade the answer, finally Goirigolzarri has pointed to “number one”, in clear reference to González, as several legal sources present in the interrogation coincide in pointing out to EL PAÍS.
Goirigolzarri’s statement has been produced at the request of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office after, among the material seized from Villarejo after his arrest in 2017, a note appeared containing the content of a conversation that the commissioner had held in June 2005 with the then BBVA security chief, Julio Corrochano, one of the main people involved in the case. According to this note, Goirigolzarri allegedly learned of the existence of an espionage operation against former socialist minister Miguel Sebastián and asked Corrochano, who was his subordinate, for explanations.
Always according to that note, the then CEO of BBVA had been “pissed off” because he considered that controlling a member of the Government could be a crime. In that document, Villarejo assures that the now president of CaixaBank had access to the reports of the Trampa I and Trampa II operations, intended, the first, to prevent Del Rivero from taking control of the bank, and the second on a possible purchase of the Italian Banco Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL).
About two hours declaring
In his statement this Monday, which lasted nearly two hours, Goirigolzarri denied that the scene recorded in said document took place. “I never had the slightest idea of the existence [de esos informes]”, He assured before emphasizing that he had not talked about them with Corrochano either. “My relations with this man were very sporadic and only to talk about my personal safety,” she had pointed out earlier. At that time, the president of CaixaBank has revealed that he did have a formal meeting, already in May 2005, when both operations had already ended, with one of his subordinates, the then head of Human Resources, Ángel Cano, on whom the security Department. When he was about to finish that meeting, Goirigolzarri has assured that Cano told him that he had hired “an intelligence company” to analyze Del Rivero’s operation. “As you will understand, I got very angry,” said the manager, who considered “a total disloyalty to me” not having had the information about this operation. And he added: “It was done behind my back.”
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.
In his statement as a defendant before the judge, last December, Cano, identified by the internal investigation carried out by the bank itself as one of the 11 managers who participated in the signing of the contracts, with Villarejo, did not mention this meeting to the judge. In that appearance, the former director discharged responsibility on Corrochano and Francisco González. Cano assured that the then head of Security saw these works “directly with the president” and that the latter did not tell him “anything” about said orders.
To questions from the prosecutor, Goirigolzarri added that “it is true” that Francisco González sometimes entrusted work to managers who were under the command of the CEO, but that “normal” is that this person later spoke with him and commented on “the decision of the president or the work that he had commissioned. The president of CaixaBank has stated that at that meeting he threatened to dismiss Cano if this lack of loyalty occurred again. Asked by Anticorruption if his subordinate had explained to him who had given him the order, Goirigolzarri stated that he “logically” assumed that the decision to hire Villarejo’s intelligence company had been made by the president.
“I don’t know if he told me, but I clearly assumed it,” he added, before assuring that he did not ask him about the content of those jobs “The center of the conversation was disloyalty,” he added. She has also stated that she never knew if Francisco González received documentation about that espionage and has clarified that, of course, he “never” shared anything with him. In his testimony, Goirigolzarri has assured that he did not inquire further about that operation “neither with Cano nor with anyone” nor did he ask for more explanations about the objective of the operation or the result.
The investigation into the commissions from the financial entity to the commissioner —in which twenty people are charged, including Villarejo himself, Francisco González and BBVA as a legal entity— is carried out within one of the pieces opened by the judge in macro summary opened for the allegedly criminal activities of the police officer. The investigations have revealed, so far, a total of 18 commissions from BBVA to the commissioner for which he pocketed 10.3 million euros. The magistrate agreed last January to extend the investigation until July 29 to take the missing statements and carry out other pending procedures.