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Son of Cepsa oil firm chief killed in Angola robbery

Tributes paid to entrepreneurial Spaniard Roque Bergareche who was shot dead in Luanda on Friday

Roque Bergareche in a photograph released by his family.
Roque Bergareche in a photograph released by his family.

Roque Bergareche could have had a more or less comfortable life in Spain but he preferred to break new trails. He wanted to innovate. To follow this path, he left his job at financial firm N+1 in 2010 to create his own company in Angola. Last Friday, Bergareche and a friend were assaulted by a group of youths in Luanda and the 29-year-old died from a gunshot wound to the head.

Bergareche studied at the Santa María de los Rosales school and went on to receive a business studies degree from the ICADE college in Madrid.

The son of Santiago Bergareche, co-chairman of the Cepsa energy firm and an advisor to the multimedia group Vocento, and grandson of former Real Madrid president Ramón Mendoza, Bergareche decided to leave everything behind in search of adventure and opportunity. With his friend Jorge Calvillo, he founded Vig World, a project management company.

“We wanted to set up in Angola because it is an interesting country where we felt we could create an innovative structure. Until now, we had never had any problems with security, although we knew there are some dangerous areas,” said Calvillo at the Madrid mortuary where Bergareche’s body arrived on Saturday.

On Friday, a day before his 30th birthday, Bergareche and his associate Javier Montojo left the office in the Sagrada Familia neighborhood during the evening. They decided to go to a restaurant in the center of Luanda. When they arrived at the establishment’s car park, they were surrounded by a group of youths aged between 14 and 17 and attacked with sticks and other objects. Montojo was hit with a pistol handle while Bergareche fell to the floor unconscious. Then a shot was heard. The youths fled in a car with nothing other than a stolen cellphone.

We thought he would follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and become president of Real Madrid”

An Angolan employee of Bergareche’s firm said that the gang had been arrested, although a family member said one was still being sought. “Roque was extraordinary. He was out of this world not just professionally but also as a person. People from as far away as Colombia have come to the mortuary,” said Calvillo.

“We know how things are here because of the serious crisis we are going through. Roque, like many other young Spaniards, decided to look for better opportunities in Angola,” said Bergareche’s uncle, also named Ramón Mendoza.

“He has a lot of his grandfather in him,” added another close friend. “He shares the same entrepreneurial spirit. Many of us thought that in time he would follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and become president of Real Madrid.”

Mendoza said that among the first people to offer their condolences to the family were Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón and his wife, Mar Utrera, who were almost at the center of a similar tragedy when their son, José, survived an attack in Buenos Aires. His Italian friend, Tommaso Lotto, died from a gunshot wound to the chest.

Vig World, with 17 employees, had recently participated in the construction of a modern maternity unit in Luanda and is currently engaged in a project to produce an energy map of the country to held Angola make better use of its natural resources. Bergareche traveled often to Madrid and had a ticket to return to Spain on Saturday, the day after the attack. He was due to marry his girlfriend, Verónica Corsini Prado, in Jerez de la Frontera next May.

Bergareche’s brother Jacobo wrote on a social networking site: “The brother I have left got me out of bed to tell me he is the only brother I have left.”

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