MADRID, 20 Abr. (EUROPA PRESS) -
The Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court has supported Vodafone's thesis and has confirmed the conviction of the three main former directors of Ono for the case known as "VAT fraud" for negligent conduct, by dismissing the appeals filed against the sanctions of the Provincial Court.
The Supreme Court has sentenced the former president of Ono, José María Castellano, the former CEO, Rosalía Portela, and the former financial director of the company, Carlos Sagasta, to pay the VAT amounts between April 30, 2014 and August 31, 2014, according to the sentence to which Europa Press has had access.
The case has taken several years to be resolved in the courts and dates back to a fraud detected by the Tax Agency (AEAT) in 2014. After learning of the fraud, Vodafone denounced the leadership of the cable operator for lack of due diligence, the breach of the duties of loyalty, by hiding from the parent company its involvement in the fraud, and the damages caused to the company.
The discovered debt with the Tax Agency amounted to 72.5 million euros in three years, counting interest, surcharges and internal cost overruns, as explained by the operator in its lawsuit to the executives.
The Supreme Court has thus generally supported the previous ruling of the Provincial Court, although it has reduced the final calculation by two months to take the fine into account, since previously they had to pay VAT in the period between February and August. The final amount to be paid must be settled in the coming dates.
The Tax Agency informed an employee of CableEuropa, a subsidiary of Ono, of the signs of fraud on February 4, 2014. That same day, the employee reported to her superiors how a VAT carousel fraud worked.
In the mail, according to the Supreme Court, "he gave the names of the suppliers involved that the inspectors had provided him, indicating that there could be more." The fraud is related to the reselling of international calls.
Subsequently, on April 30 –the day set for the start of the sanction by the Supreme Court--, the AEAT inspectors met with the directors of CableEuropa to present the case to them, after announcing their intention to open an inspection.
In the sentence, reference is made to the fact that the former CEO defended at the meeting that she did not believe there was conclusive evidence and that the resale services would be maintained to avoid losing market share.
However, subsequent investigations at the internal level ended up motivating Ono to collaborate and sign the act of conformity. After this, Vodafone filed the lawsuit, which initially estimated the damage at more than 140 million euros.