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Justice rejects the investigation of Sandra Ortega for fraud requested by four banks | Economy

The businesswoman Sandra Ortega Mera, in 2013.
The businesswoman Sandra Ortega Mera, in 2013.

Businesswoman Sandra Ortega, the richest woman in Spain, is currently exempt from being investigated for fraud. The Provincial Court of A Coruña has rejected the request of four banks —Deustche Bank, Abanca, Bankinter and Société Générale— which maintain that the eldest daughter of the founders of Inditex, Amancio Ortega and Rosalía Mera, was aware that their company, Rosp Corunna , had guaranteed with his assets the payment of some credits granted to the Madrid businessman Kike Sarasola, his partner in the hotel sector through the firm Room Mate. The non-payment of those loans, which were never covered by Ortega, has caused economic damage to the banks, amounting to 150 million euros.

Sandra Ortega, owner of 5% of Inditex, maintains that the payment guarantees for those Sarasola loans were signed behind her back by the former manager of her fortune, José Leyte, whom she fired in November 2020. In fact, the request of the banks that justice has rejected occurred within the framework of the lawsuit that Ortega has filed against Leyte, whom he accuses of falsifying his signature on those guarantees. The distrust of the financial entities about whether or not the businesswoman was really deceived by her employee exploded seven months ago, when Leyte declared in the court of instruction number 2 of A Coruña that he falsified the signature of the daughter of the founder of Inditex with his consent , a practice that according to him was common despite the fact that Ortega is the sole administrator of Rosp Corunna.

The order issued by the second section of the Provincial Court of A Coruña, against which there is no appeal, confirms the resolution issued by the investigating court that is handling the case and that rejected the admission of the complaint filed by Deutsche Bank, whose arguments second the other three entities. Deutsche Bank maintains that “it is unlikely that the sole administrator of Rosp did not have full knowledge of the situation in Room Mate” and ensures that there is “a scenario of fraudulent action by the businesswoman against the banks.” The entity defends that Ortega “is perfectly aware, because he has allowed and encouraged it, that most of the signatures on the sponsorship letters have been simulated both by Leyte and by other Rosp employees”, but “he decides to take advantage of it to try to free himself. ”of their payment obligations”.

The Court of A Coruña argues that the intention of the banks to investigate Ortega for an alleged fraud and procedural fraud within the judicial procedure in which she herself exercises the accusation against her former manager would entail an enormous “degree of complexity” and “delay of the process” in a summary that already accumulates “several thousand pages”. And it opens the door for financial entities to act against Ortega by promoting another procedure later. “The best procedural economy”, wields the Court, is the one that derives “from the general principle that each crime will give rise to the formation of a single cause”.

economic solvency

The four banks that granted loans to Room Mate, the hotel company in which Sarasola and Ortega were partners, are concerned because they doubt that Leyte, if convicted, will be able to face “the amounts swindled.” The Court of A Coruña responds to the financial entities that this is not an argument to investigate the richest woman in Spain: “The judicial bodies do not choose the defendants based on their economic solvency or the particular interests of others” .

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The eldest daughter of the co-founders of the Inditex empire accuses Leyte of misappropriation, unfair administration and false documents, who managed the fortune of Rosalía Mera, Ortega’s mother, since 2000. She maintains that she forged her signature to benefit Sarasola by putting her fortune as a guarantee for the payment of several loans requested by the indebted Madrid hotel chain and of which the billionaire has 30%. The complaint indicates as alleged consideration for this support an advantageous purchase option on a Sarasola company that Leyte and his wife signed in 2014, only a year after Mera died and her daughter took over the reins of the estate of she.

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