Noose Tightens on Spain’s Wind Farm Fraudsters: Tax Inspectors Uncover €110 million Paid as Bribes & Backhanders

clint863

The round-up begins …

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The wind industry seems to attract a particular class of bloke, in much the same way that the Prohibition era drew lots of heavy-set Italians to the Mob.

Maybe that seemingly endless stream of massive subsidies filched from taxpayers and power consumers generates the same allure as festering dung does for swarms of flies?

Whatever it is, the whiff that surrounds the wind industry has attracted (and continues to attract) a class that has no hesitation lying, cheating, stealing and even bonking their way to the easy loot on offer.

The Italian Mob were in on the wind power fraud from the get-go: applying their considerable (and perfectly applicable) skills – leading the European wind power fraud, with what economists call “first-mover-advantage” (see our post here).

We’ve reported on just how rotten the wind industry is – from top to bottom – and whether it’s bribery and fraud; vote rigging scandals; tax fraud; investor fraud or REC fraud – wind weasels set a uniform standard that would make most businessmen blush.

The crooks involved – and the corruption, lies thuggery and deceit that follow them – are uniform across the globe.

Wind power outfits in Taiwan – faced with a pesky community backlash – sent the muscle in and beat the protesters to a bloody pulp (see our posts here and here).

The Thais aren’t much better.

In Australia, Thai outfit RATCH has been lying to, bullying and threatening communities far and wide for years (see our posts here and here and here).

In previous posts we’ve looked at how the goons that work for RATCH didn’t hesitate to invent a character – Frank Bestic – in a half-cunning attempt to infiltrate their opponents at Collector and elsewhere – see our posts here and here and here.

RATCH also teamed up with one of Queensland’s property developer, “white-shoe-brigade“, John Morris – in a joint plan to destroy the Atherton Tablelands, by spearing 60 odd turbines into a patch of pristine, tropical wilderness on top of Mt Emerald – a move, quite rightly, opposed by 92% of locals (see our post here).

Morris is a five-star resort owner, who generously wined, dined and otherwise accommodated his mate, LNP pollie, David Kempton. Kempton got rolled at the last election, but while in power, held a rabid interest in getting the project approved, despite the fact that his own electorate was miles away, and pulled out all stops to ‘smooth’ the way to development approval (see our post here).

RATCH and Morris have shown all the care and restraint we’ve come to expect from the wind industry and its parasites: an “industry” that has absolutely no interest in producing meaningful power or “saving” the planet. Take away the promise of $50 billion in subsidies from the REC Tax on power consumers (see our post here) and this lot will disappear in a heartbeat (see our post here).

RATCH shares its Thai roots with another Thai wind power outfit that owes its existence to the Thai Military Junta – “Wind Energy Holdings”.

Wind Energy Holdings hit the news a while back when its hitherto-hot-shot head, Nopporn Suppipat was caught with his fingers in the till. Having been caught – he acted with all the honour we’ve come to expect from wind weasels, wherever they ply their trade: he bolted! (see our post here)

Now, it’s the turn of Spanish Wind Conquistadors to feel the heat.

That the wind industry is the product of institutional corruption – fuelled by back-slaps, and $millions in back-handers to planning officers, local councils and others in charge of the rubber stamps needed to start and keep the wind power fraud rolling – is no secret.

However, as these boys have bought the sanction of governments, rooting out the recipients of that crooked cash – when it’s sprinkled all the way to the top – presents investigators with more than the usual forensic challenges. Here’s Spain’s El País on España’s errant wind fraudsters’ trail.

Regional officials and businessmen may have received €110 million, say auditors
El País
F.Garea; R. Méndez
20 April 2015

Private renewable energy firms may have paid more than €110 million in commissions to government officials and local businessmen in Castilla y León to help them obtain licenses and push through paperwork to install wind farms across the region between 2004 and 2007, tax inspectors said.

In a December 30 report obtained by EL PAÍS, seven transactions detail how energy firms paid local businessmen and people connected to the regional Popular Party (PP) government either directly or through stocks in companies created to build and operate wind farms.

The Spanish AEAT tax agency has turned over the 94-page report to anti-corruption prosecutors to investigate if money laundering or other crimes may have been committed.

Those suspected of taking part in the commission deals are public officials in Castilla y León; go-betweens who negotiated on behalf of the energy firms and were able to obtain administrative approvals; and companies belonging to local businessmen who, “without any valid economic motives, received the transfer of funds and stock for an amount superior to €110 million,” inspectors said.

In some cases, the firms transferred stock in the businesses set up in such a way so as to multiply the initial capital invested by hundreds, even thousands, of times.

Among those who may have benefited from this alleged scheme were officials from Castilla y León’s economy department, which authorized the wind farms.

EL PAÍS was unable to reach Rafael Delgado Núñez, who was the deputy chief of the economy department at the time and the official responsible for signing the administrative permits.

In some cases, the firms multiplied the initial capital invested by hundreds, even thousands, of times

Along with other officials, Delgado Núñez was called in to give a statement before tax inspectors. According to his testimony, which was included in the audit, he said the procedure in the region was “very efficient” because there was hardly any legal framework supporting these operations at the time and the government wanted to ensure that “the companies that applied had regional interests.”

One of the main figures in the report is Alberto Esgueva, who until 2006 was CEO of Excal – a public entity formed by the Castilla y León government to promote regional exports. His own firm, according to inspectors, received the most commissions from the operations. Since September Esgueva has been living in Poland, where he runs a real estate business.

He declined to be interviewed for this article despite various attempts to contact him through his secretary.

A spokesman for the region’s economy department said he had no knowledge about the report but added that all the transactions were legally carried out and there was no evidence that commissions were paid.

Tomás Villanueva, who has headed up Castilla y León’s economy department since 2003 and is considered a close aide to PP regional premier Juan Vicente Herrera, on Monday stated that, after carrying out a “first check,” the paperwork authorizing the wind farms under question by the Tax Agency “was correct and in line with the law.”

Villanueva’s name surfaces in one part of the audit where tax inspectors mentioned that Delgado Núñez “played an important role” in both the economic and education departments.

In their report, inspectors alleged that numerous payments helped pave the way for the regional government to make quick decisions about the installation of wind farms. In one case, the money helped overcome the bureaucracy that had been blocking the project for six years.

Utility companies that wanted to install wind farms allegedly set up joint venture vehicles with local businesses and officials who had government ties to the region, the report said.

The association with the local businessman or government official would allegedly help push through the paperwork and, once the electric companies had received authorization to build the wind farm, they would pay back the investors more than what they had initially put into the joint venture.

One of the renewable energy companies that paid out a large amount to install a wind farm was Preneal, owned by Eduardo Merigó, the former president of Visa in Spain and an ex-secretary of state in former Spanish Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez’s Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD) administration (1977-1982). He told tax inspectors that he “felt like a victim of the system.”

Merigó also declined to speak to EL PAÍS for this article.

Preneal paid €6 million to San Cayetano Wind, which belonged to Esgueva, without “any obligation or compensation,” the report states.

Another €7 million was paid to Cronos Global, which was half owned by Esgueva. Last December, a Preneal representative told tax inspectors that Cronos had nothing to do with obtaining permits or building wind farms.

The projects have still not been approved, but Cronos Global received €7 million after putting down a €1.5 million initial investment.

Tax inspectors have also discovered suspicious bank transfers by Cronos Global at the beginning of the recession of up to €100 million to Poland and the United States while around €38 million was transferred to Spain.

The other partners in Cronos Global was Luis María García Clerigó and his family.

Clerigó is the president of the now-defunct Parqueolid, a construction firm in Valladolid. When contacted by EL PAÍS, Clerigó said he had difficulty remembering anything because he suffered a stroke seven years ago.

Parqueolid is under investigation in another case for allegedly receiving €50 million from the Castilla y León regional government to build new offices for the economic department. A judge investigating this case has targeted Delgado Núñez, who served as deputy chief of the regional economy department for eight years, and is also sifting through his bank accounts.
El País

good, bad ugly

Spanish Wind Bandit about to feel the ‘grip’ of the rope.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Jackie Rovenksy says:

    Until we have a media ready to publish these stories and others about how this industry is being exposed overseas, and how others around the world are suffering we will still have far too many people believing the lies being perpetrated here.

    We have this information because we have STT, but there are far too many misguided and misinformed souls out there who would rather cut their fingers off than press their keypad and enter the site.

    If they did take a chance they would no doubt expire with shock at STT’s audacity in publishing such truthful information, information which cuts through the lies they are now so accustomed to hearing and believing.

    Yes a Royal Commission or some other hi-level investigation is needed, as it would be naïve to believe Australia is immune from the ‘happy hand-shake’.

  2. Christine {Duhaime] has a specialized counter-terrorist financing and anti-money laundering law practice and is a Certified Financial Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Specialist, a U.S. certification.

    Christine reports, “Europol has issued its first Serious and Organized Crime Threat Assessment (“SOCTA“).”
    “Organized crime groups such as the Cosa Nostra, Camorra and Ndrangheta are reported in the SOCTA as being heavily involved in renewable energy (wind and solar) and waste management businesses all over the EU which are used to launder funds.

    With respect to renewable energy, the involvement of organized crime commences at the financing of infrastructure and continues to operating wind farms and solar energy companies. The generous EU subsidies, tax credits and tariff fees are attractive to organized crime because it means ultimately that the government is funding organized criminal activities.”
    http://www.duhaimelaw.com/lawyers/christine/

  3. Jim Hutson says:

    If Guy Fawkes was alive today he wouldn’t be using gun powder to get to get rid of a lot of Politicians , he would be setting up a Royal Commission on wind farms.

  4. No Turbines says:

    It’s only a matter of time before the same big story breaks in Australia. Bring it on.

  5. WELL, WELL, it’s all coming to a head world wide, and all the happy faces of all the windweasel grubs are becoming long and sour faces. It is interesting now that the music has started playing, and all can see and hear what is going on at last.

  6. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

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