Ex-employers’ chief Díaz Ferrán got 100,000 a month for giving up firm

Associate who allegedly helped the former business leader conceal assets asked to stump up record 50 million

Gerardo Díaz Ferrán, the former chief of Spain’s foremost employers’ organization arrested on charges of money laundering and concealing assets, reached a simple and lucrative agreement with the liquidator of his company Ángel de Cabo, the High Court judge in the case revealed Wednesday.

Díaz Ferrán and his late business partner, Gonzalo Pascual, handed over the bankrupt Viajes Marsans travel agency and all its assets to De Cabo and he paid them 100,000 euros a month in return — up to a total of eight million euros each. In this way, the businessmen eluded their 10,000 creditors and the liquidator got rich.

The only problem, Judge Eloy Velasco said, was that as well as running the company, De Cabo also set about enriching himself and those around him, with all of Marsans’ remaining assets ending up under his control.

The judge explained the procedure used to conceal the assets of the Marsans group in the court order that set bail at 30 million euros for Díaz Ferrán.

The mastermind behind the Gürtel kickbacks-for-contracts scheme posted a 15-million-euro bail

Bail for De Cabo, meanwhile, was set at 50 million euros, the highest amount ever seen in a Spanish courtroom. In his statement to the court on Wednesday, Díaz Ferrán said he had simply backed the executive decisions of his partner Pascual, who died in June.

“During the whole process I have of course never carried out any executive work in Viajes Marsans neither before or after, when I was volunteer administrator, and my 40-something partner was always president of the company and he carried out the executive work,” he told Judge Santiago Pedraz. “I have never carried out executive work, let alone the day-to-day running of the company.”

Judge Velasco wrote that while Díaz Ferrán traveled to the “headquarters of Ascendía in Valencia every two or three weeks” to collect his payments, his partner Pascual “did not receive any of the stipulated payments up to the moment of his death.”

The judge concluded that, employing his network of companies and straw men, De Cabo ended up in control of everything. He said since the anti-corruption operation against the also-collapsed Nueva Rumasa conglomerate, De Cabo’s network had focused on justifying the movement of funds produced after entering into the Marsans group, cooking up a plan of “pretend contracts and other business loopholes” to place the assets abroad and setting up companies in the likes of Cyprus, Switzerland Liechtenstein Malta and Hong Kong.

After appearing before the High Court in Madrid, Díaz Ferrán was taken to the capital’s Plaza de Castilla courts to answer charges relating to another criminal case involving an allegedly illegal 26-million-euro Caja Madrid bank loan. As soon as he arrived, he told the judge he felt unwell and asked to be examined.

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