“Exterminating angel” spills the beans on former employers chief’s financial ruses

Associate of onetime CEOE chief Díaz Ferrán tells police how company money was made to vanish

An undated photograph of Ángel de Cabo.
An undated photograph of Ángel de Cabo.

Prison finally made Ángel de Cabo go soft. The man who liquidated Grupo Marsans, once a major tourism multinational, explained to the police the ruses he used to ransack Marsans' assets while simultaneously preserving the personal wealth of its two owners — one of whom is the former head of the Spanish employers' association CEOE.

In a three-hour, 20-page statement made to the police on November 27 to which EL PAÍS has had access, Ángel De Cabo — whose specialty was liquidating indebted businesses, earning himself the nickname of "The Exterminating Angel" — said that he and former CEOE chief Gerardo Díaz Ferrán developed a series of techniques to pull the wool over the eyes of Marsans' bankruptcy administrators.

Grupo Marsans, which owned tour operators in Europe and Latin America and the airline Air Comet, went into administration in 2010 following serious financial difficulties. In June of that year it was sold for 600 million euros to Posibilitum Business, a vulture fund owned by De Cabo. However, rather than try to refloat the group, De Cabo went on to liquidate it.

De Cabo, a 46-year-old former plumber, said that he agreed "to pay each one of them 5.5 million euros in cash" to avoid the administrators' controls.

About Díaz Ferrán, who has been held in the Soto del Real penitentiary outside Madrid since December 2012, De Cabo told the police that "we had to take out his assets so they would not be sold, and he was paid 100,000 euros a month in cash; he received a total of 2.7 million euros, and was not paid more on account of the arrests."

"Regarding the 4.9 million euros in an account in my name in Switzerland, it is true that I took this out of Astra [an Irish firm that the CEOE chief used to purchase aircraft for Air Comet] to later give to Gerardo," he admitted.

De Cabo also claims that the Lequar, a 31-meter yacht, "remains the property of Díaz Ferrán following a phony transfer to a company in Gibraltar."

Money in Hong Kong

The business liquidator further revealed that "Díaz Ferrán has money in Hong Kong" and that De Cabo can produce the copy of a fax that proves it — "as soon as I am released."

The former head of Spain's largest business association was sentenced in December to two years and two months in jail for tax offenses. The High Court ruled that he was guilty of tax fraud committed in 2001, after not declaring credits worth 272 million euros.

Díaz Ferrán is also a formal target of investigation in a number of other cases, including accusations that he pocketed 4.4 million euros from the bankruptcy of Grupo Marsans.

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