MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s High Court on Monday placed the country’s second-largest bank BBVA under formal investigation as part of a probe into an alleged spying case that dates back to 2004, the court said in a statement.
The decision follows a request by the anti-corruption public prosecutor last week and will see BBVA investigated on charges of bribery, disclosure secrets and corruption in relation to the company’s alleged dealings with former police chief Jose Manuel Villarejo.
BBVA declined to comment on Monday. In a statement last Wednesday, executive Chairman Carlos Torres reiterated his “firm commitment to clarifying the facts and complying with the law, for which we will continue to collaborate actively with the judicial system”.
News websites El Confidencial and Moncloa.com reported in January that BBVA had hired Villarejo’s firm, Grupo Cenyt, to investigate officials of construction company Sacyr as part of efforts to stop a takeover bid by the company in 2004.
The investigating judge in charge of the case earlier in July expanded his investigation to eight former or current BBVA employees, but none belong to the bank’s current board.
(Reporting by Sam Edwards and Jesus Aguado; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)