NEWSPAPERS in Spain and then across Europe published news on June 3 that the Guardia Civil had searched the headquarters of Santander Bank in Madrid in order to find evidence that it had been involved in money laundering and supposedly, this was undertaken under the specific instructions of a high court judge.
No sooner was the news published by El Mundo than both the Guardia Civil and the National High Court immediately issued statements denying the claims. It appears that the Bank had been asked to supply some documents connected with the Falconi investigation which centres on a number of Spaniards who had secret accounts with a Swiss branch of HSBC but the officers simply arrived to collect them.
All parties deny that there was a raid or a search and it is of course highly prejudicial for a Bank such as Santander to be involved with these sort of rumours even though it does accept that documents had been requested.
This particular investigation came about when a ‘whistle blower’ revealed the fact that there may be as many as 659 accounts held by Spanish residents and according to tax authorities there is a potential €6 billion involved. Having said that, it appears however that a number of account holders have already volunteered information to the authorities and in many case paid any disputed tax.