King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain sent private messages of support to a businessman caught up in a Madrid savings bank scandal involving secret credit cards for executives, the online daily eldiario.es has reported.
Javier López Madrid, who is the CEO of Villar Mir, a large industrial group, spent €34,800 of taxpayers’ money on expensive restaurants and luxury items, using a discretionary credit card given to members of the boards of Caja Madrid and its successor, Bankia. This lender was bailed out with €23 billion in public funds.
You know what I think, Javier. We know who you are, you know who we are. We know each other, we have affection for one another, we respect one another. As for everything else, merde.
Queen Letizia to Javier López Madrid
The messages of support were sent to López Madrid, who is also being investigated in the Púnica kickbacks-for-contracts case, on October 15, 2014, just five days after details emerged of how 86 bank executives spent a collective €15.2 million in personal expenses that were paid for by the bank, although the money was not properly declared on their income tax filings.
Although López Madrid tried to delete these messages, sent through Apple’s iMessage chat system, they were recovered by Civil Guard specialists as part of another investigation into claims of sexual harassment made against him by a woman.
Court papers show that a person identified on López Madrid’s cellphone as “Ltzia” sent the following text message: “I wrote to you when the article about the cards came out in that shitty LOC [a possible reference to an article about him in a newspaper supplement], and you know what I think, Javier. We know who you are, you know who we are. We know each other, we have affection for one another, we respect one another. As for everything else, merde. Kisses, fellow yogui (miss you!!!).”
Official royal sources have confirmed to EL PAÍS that the messages of support for López Madrid were sent by the king and queen but were part of “a friendship that no longer exists”
At the time, Queen Letizia and López Madrid were taking yoga classes together.
López Madrid, who has since returned the money spent on the credit card and is awaiting a trial date, replies: “I am very grateful to you. In future I will be extremely cautious, we live in a very difficult country and I will be increasingly aware of my own conduct.”
A third person identified as “PF PT” then joins the conversation, coinciding with the acronyms Príncipe Felipe (still referring to the recently crowned Felipe VI as the prince) and “personal,” as in personal phone line. Both men had been friends for years.
This individual writes: “I am joining the chat, but would rather spend some time chatting without the electronics or telephones in the middle. Shall we meet for lunch tomorrow? Hugs.”
The lunch date was postponed because López Madrid was in San Francisco, but he and King Felipe met on October 24, according to a message the businessman sent to the head of the royal household.
Official royal sources have confirmed to EL PAÍS that the messages of support for López Madrid were sent by the king and queen but were part of “a friendship that no longer exists.”
English version by Susana Urra.