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Gowex Auditor Evaded Taxes After Covering Accounts, Judge Says

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July 18 (Bloomberg) -- Let’s Gowex SA’s auditor helped cover up the embattled Wi-Fi provider’s fake accounts and didn’t report his earnings from working for the company to the tax agency, a Spanish judge said.

“There are enough reasons to believe that Jose Antonio Diaz Villanueva” is responsible for several crimes, including the incorrect use of insider information, and that he helped cover up the crimes in his capacity as auditor, Judge Santiago Pedraz, of Spain’s National Court, said in a statement today after hearing Diaz’s testimony as a suspect. Pedraz gave Diaz 15 days to post bail of 200,000 euros ($270,000) and said the auditor didn’t double-check bills and bank payments as he claimed because “they didn’t exist” and only appeared on an Excel sheet.

Diaz was the third suspect to testify this week to Pedraz about the Gowex investigation, following Chief Financial Officer Francisco Martinez and former Chief Executive Officer Jenaro Garcia, who has taken responsibility for faking the Madrid-based company’s accounts and creating fictitious clients since at least 2005. Garcia, who founded Gowex, resigned July 5, four days after short-seller Gotham City Research LLC published a report saying Gowex lied about its results.

Diaz couldn’t be reached on his mobile phone, as the call went through to his voicemail box, which was full. He left the court house without speaking to the press.

Pedraz also said he was surprised by the way Diaz was paid by Gowex and that he didn’t report those earnings to the tax agency. Pedraz didn’t say what aspect of the payments surprised him.

Following Diaz’s testimony, Pedraz heard a statement from Javier Solsona, a Gowex board member, who is also listed in a suspect in the investigation.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rodrigo Orihuela in Madrid at rorihuela@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net Mark Beech, Robert Valpuesta