Economic News Rato requests the annulment of all evidence on the first day of the trial in which Anti-Corruption asks him for 70 years in prison

Eight and a half years after his arrest, Rodrigo Rato has sat on the bench of the Provincial Court of Madrid to face a request for 70 years in prison for fifteen economic crimes

Economic News Rato requests the annulment of all evidence on the first day of the trial in which Anti-Corruption asks him for 70 years in prison

Eight and a half years after his arrest, Rodrigo Rato has sat on the bench of the Provincial Court of Madrid to face a request for 70 years in prison for fifteen economic crimes.

The declaration as accused of the former vice president of the Government, former director of the IMF and former director of Bankia is not scheduled until April, but the first day of the trial has been completely occupied by his defense, which has demanded his acquittal without the need to hold the hearing. oral.

In the processing of preliminary issues, lawyer María Massó has maintained that the key to the entire accusation is the documentation obtained in records that the court must consider null, and do so before the interrogations begin.

"The entire accusatory story has been built on the basis of the seized documentation [...] Without the order that gave rise to the seizure there would be no accusatory writing and only free acquittal would be possible. The original evidence is the seized documentation, it is the used for each and every one of the tests that are intended to be asserted. They all derive from that first one," Rato's representation has maintained.

The fact that all subsequent actions are connected to the first one, which must be considered null, means that what jurisprudence calls a connection of illegality occurs and which means, according to the defense, that all the evidence has been contaminated and can no longer be used to to accuse.

The Anti-Corruption indictment attributes to Rato 11 tax crimes as well as a crime of money laundering, a crime of punishable insolvency, a crime of corruption in business and a continuing crime of falsification of official and commercial documents. He estimates that his tax fraud amounted to 8.5 million.

In her intervention, the former popular politician's lawyer maintained that in 2015 there was no basis to order the searches. The judge who authorized them did not make the necessary critical judgment of the two elements that were presented to him: the complaint from the Prosecutor's Office and a risk report from the Tax Agency.

The Prosecutor's complaint "was mendacious", something "easily verifiable" if the judge had stopped to detect the contradictions that its own text contained. As for the risk report from the Onif (National Fraud Investigation Office), it was full of "generalities" and "hypotheses" without sufficient depth for an interference in the fundamental rights of the accused. As an example, the lawyer has indicated that she located Rato's assets in tax havens, without the specific countries - the United Kingdom, Luxembourg - being considered such.

The questioned initial searches were followed by another one by Onif days later at the headquarters of some servers that contained information and which was "an absolutely illegal action" that was not covered by the initial registration authorizations that the judge had issued. Nor, therefore, could the nine million documents thus obtained be used in the prosecution.

"Documents were seized from 1980, that is, 35 years old, compared to the three years covered by the order. And relating to 100 individuals and legal entities, even though the order referred to two. There was no filter or anything similar. "Everything was taken. [...] They did not go after the crimes that were reported, but rather they took everything with the sole purpose of searching for the crime," said the defense, which describes the entire investigation as "prospective."

In its indictment, Anticorruption maintains that the former leader of the PP has maintained hidden assets from the Treasury since 1999 through various companies. Using these entities, Rato would have carried out continuous financial investment activities through a multitude of bank accounts opened abroad, which would have involved tax fraud between 2005 and 2015. The defense maintains that from 2010 onwards everything would have been statute-barred.

Along with Rato, 16 other defendants accused by prosecutor Elena Lorente sit on the bench. The list includes her former secretary, Teresa Arellano, her former brother-in-law, Santiago Alarcó, the former Secretary of State for the Treasury José Manuel Fernández Norniella and the former Secretary General of Telefónica Ramiro Sánchez de Lerín.

In January, after a few days dedicated to raising preliminary questions to the court, the interrogation of witnesses will begin and the rest of the evidence will be addressed. Already in April the accused will be questioned, given that on this occasion the court has agreed to the possibility, increasingly frequent, of them making a statement once the evidence against them has been seen.

This is the third trial that Rato faces. The first two were held in the National Court. In the case of Bankia's IPO, he was - like all the accused - acquitted. But in the case of the use of black cards he received a sentence of four and a half years in prison, which he has already served.