A Widening Probe in Spain
The Bank of Spain's investigation into evidence of secret offshore accounts worth $200 million at blue chip Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) could rock Spain's financial Establishment. Top criminal judge Baltasar Garzón moved on Apr. 9 to take over the probe into alleged secret pension funds and illicit political contributions in Latin America. If the investigation reveals serious fraud, it could prompt a fine against BBVA of up to $150 million and tighter regulation of listed companies. BBVA's stock fell 5% on the news. Sixteen current and former board members are named in the investigation, including ex-Chairman Emilio Ybarra and ex-CEO Pedro Luis Uriarte, both of whom stepped down in December.
Edited by Rose Brady