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Santander Chairman Botin, Brother Lose Appeal in Spain Tax Case

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Jan. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Banco Santander SA Chairman Emilio Botin lost a bid at Spain’s National Court to block three groups’ ability to file complaints against him over accusations he broke national tax laws by hiding funds in Switzerland.

Appeals by Botin, his brother Jaime Botin and other people contesting a November decision to allow the complaints by the three groups were rejected, the Madrid-based court said today in a ruling sent by e-mail. In Spain, any citizen can make a so-called popular accusation in legal proceedings even if they are not directly involved in the matter.

The court said in June it would investigate Botin and 11 family members after tax officials received information on clients at HSBC Holdings Plc’s Swiss private bank from French authorities. The Botin family, in a statement distributed by Santander at the time, said it has put its tax affairs in order “voluntarily,” has met all its tax obligations and hopes the case will be cleared up in court.

A spokesman for Spain’s largest bank, who asked not to be identified in line with company policy, declined to comment today in a phone interview.

The complaints were made by three groups called Ciudadania Anticorrupcion, Asociacion Contra La Corrupcion Sistemica Y En Defensa Del Libre Ejercicio De La Acusacion Popular and Manos Limpias, the court said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Charles Penty in Santander, Spain at cpenty@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net

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