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Prosecutors appeal against investigation into Madrid premier’s luxury penthouse

Probe should focus on company registered in US tax haven, state attorneys argue

María Fabra

“There are only vague references to a hypothetical crime of tax fraud, as well as one of money-laundering,” stated the anticorruption prosecutor in Málaga province, Juan Carlos López Caballero, in his argument against calling the regional premier of Madrid’s wife, Lourdes Cavero, to testify as a suspect in relation to the couple’s ownership of a luxury property on the Costa del Sol.

On December 16, Judge Mariana Peregrina named Cavero as an official target in an investigation over the 770,000-euro purchase of the penthouse in Estepona by Cavero and her husband, the Popular Party (PP) premier of the Madrid region, Ignacio González. However, anticorruption prosecutors have questioned Peregrina’s process, noting that the judge has not provided indications of “the financial crime that she has detected, to what tax she refers and, especially, who the person responsible for this crime is.”

The case was opened following a complaint filed by the SUP police union in October 2012, but the private prosecution representing the SUP also considers that the naming of Cavero as a suspect “lacks basis.”

As well as Cavero, the judge also targeted Coast Investors, a company based in the tax haven of Delaware, USA, from which the couple bought the property last year having initially been tenants. On the title deeds, 80 percent of the property is in Cavero’s name, with the other 20 percent in González’s. The PP politician stated on learning of the investigation that he had already made public the deeds, the loans involved and all the rental payments the couple had made on the property since 2008.

The anticorruption prosecutor said the investigation should focus on the origin of the money Coast Investors used to buy the property in 2008. The deeds were obtained by a Mexican businessman named Rudy Valner on behalf of Coast Investors, which is no longer in operation, leading prosecutors to suspect that it could have been “used by physical persons to launder money originating from illicit activity.”

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