Transparency forces Cofides to release information about the rescue of Pachá

The Council for Transparency and Good Governance (CTBG) returns to pull the ears of the Government in its battle for information regarding state bailouts for companies hit by the coronavirus. Until now, the public company in the CTBG’s crosshairs was SEPI, from the Ministry of Finance, due to the requests sent and the money mobilized by the fund for strategic companies. But now it has been the turn of Cofides (Industry)responsible for having granted 779 million euros to 89 companies in sectors as exposed to mobility restrictions as leisure and tourismmainly, so that they healed the scars of the pandemic.

In a new resolution, the CTBG has partially estimated a request before the company chaired by Jose Luis Curbelo to reveal the data that justifies the millionaire loan to the public company Pachá (18 million euros), which was criticized from different sectors. The file began to be processed in March, when El Fonrec, as the aid mechanism for medium-sized companies is known, notified the interested parties of this petition, the beneficiary company Universo Pachá SA, the consultancy PwC, the law firm Ontier and the rating agency The wicked.

His initial response was not to provide information about the rescue, since the royal decree that enabled this aid (Law 5/2021) was guided by a specific regime that shielded the files with “reserved character” so that they were not “disclosed to any person or authority” (article 17.5). In addition, the refusal to share data from this grant of public money was also based on other aspects of the transparency law, such as the abusive request for information or the risk derived from sharing a company’s private data (accounting, business plans or market share figures, for example).

resolution

Having listened to the arguments of all parties -also the applicant who filed an appeal against its refusal-, the conclusion of Transparency amended some considerations of the public company, to which he requested to deliver information from the file to the applicant. In the first place, by understanding that the legal limits of access to information cannot be understood in absolute termsin such a way that they completely exclude the possibility of their exercise, emptying them of content and completely sacrificing the legal position recognized by their owners, in this case, access to public information”.

This body supports its thesis in some sentences issued by the Supremo, which has stated that the transparency law “allows the possibility of classifying certain information or data as confidential and establishing certain limits to the information requested.” But at the same time, the resolution dictates that “what is not acceptable is to affirm that all information related to the matter should be excluded from the scope of the law“. For all these reasons, it requests that the aid information be released without “those elements that, in the fair and well-considered judgment of the administration, contain sensitive information.”

The partial estimation is firm in the administrative way, but against it there is a legal appeal for a period of two months before the contentious-administrative chamber in the central courts of Madrid. It would not be the first time that the Government explores this last optionWell, it has already done so when more information has been cited than other bailouts such as that of the airline Air Europa, financed by SEPI with 475 million euros in the first aid from the fund for strategic companies. The agency dependent on the Treasury has also responded to the CTBG to reveal who were the financial and legal advisers of this operation and others such as Duro Felguera and Plus Ultra.

criticized operation

The company dependent on Industry defended this aid for the protection of jobs that were at risk. But his decision was not unanimously shared, as various opposition parties aired. Luis Garicanofrom Ciudadanos, stated that “instead of transparent direct aid and with clear criteria”, “million-dollar bailouts” were being given, while from the BNG they aired comparative grievances: “There is no money to nationalize Alcoa and save jobs in A Mariña, but to save the Pachá nightclub with 18 million euros, yes. The most progressive government in history.”

The president of Universo Pachá, Manuel Garía former executive of the defunct Lehman Brothers, stepped forward and defended himself against criticism. Especially since, in his opinion, it was not a ransom, but a loan that he had to repay. The company, which is owned by the investment fund Trilantic through the Luxembourg company Mediterranean Sky Internationalhad suffered the coronavirus crisis, with a severe drop of 93% in its sales, which led it to close the 2020 financial year with 61 million losses.


Source: LA INFORMACIÓN – Lo último by www.lainformacion.com.

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