Diego Torres during his declaration on Tuesday.

23-02-2016

Diego Torres, the former business partner of Iñaki Urdangarin in the Instituto Nóos, told the Nóos trial court on Tuesday that José Manuel Romero, the lawyer to the former king, Juan Carlos, and the Hacienda used to periodically monitor activities at Nóos and gave their approval.

Torres informed the court that the Nóos secretary, Miguel Tejeiro, held periodic meetings with Romero about the not-for-profit organisation. Furthermore, Tejeiro, who is Torres's brother-in-law and was in charge of tax management at Nóos, would meet each June with a senior official from the Hacienda in order to review tax declarations and that these were approved.

Torres also maintained that what has been said about Princess Cristina having been a tax shield for the Nóos network was totally false, given that the supervisory work of the Tax Agency was a guarantee of legality. He made his observations in response to questions from the chief prosecutor, Pedro Horrach, who was suggesting that the businesses in the Nóos network had been used by Torres to divert revenues to Nóos abroad.

Horrach had begun the ninth day of actual interrogation in the trial by focusing on overseas accounts in Torres's name or in the names of companies operated by him. Torres said that matters of a tax nature were left in the hands of Miguel Tejeiro. It was he who always took decisions in this respect. Asked specifically about an account with a Luxembourg bank, Torres insisted that he had only limited knowledge about this and reiterated the fact that it was a matter for Miguel Tejeiro.

Torres added that he found it a little odd that Tejeiro was not sitting among the accused (he was absolved earlier in the trial but will appear as a witness), saying that it was he should be giving account of all this. "It is regrettable that he is not here to explain."

The name of the socialite friend of the former king, Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, also cropped up during Torres's declaration. He said that she had proposed to Torres that a business should be created in London in order to hide payments from the Fundación Laureus from the Spanish tax authorities. Torres said that this wasn't even considered in jest. "To set up a company in London, the sole intention of which was to hide money that we were charging; this was not done." Torres has given detail of an apparent email in which Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein proposed paying Nóos via a London company that was copied in to King Juan Carlos and the head of the Royal Household.

There was, however, a company set up in London which was, according to Torres, because of international projects in which Nóos was involved inside the European Union and never because there was a tax haven. It was Tejeiro, he said, who had been in charge of this. Torres added that this had seemed a good idea and a logical one. As to how the company had actually been established, Torres said that he didn't know, as he had little idea about business formation legislation in England. Indeed, as far as the international framework of businesses was concerned, Torres believed that this was done well.

Torres faces prosecution demands of between sixteen and a half and twenty-two and a half years in prison for various crimes.

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