SPANISH COURTS MAKE FIRST CONVICTION OF FORMER SAVINGS BANKS' EXECUTIVES

The former CEO of Caixa Penedés and another three executives have been convicted for awarding themselves lucrative and irregular pension plans. According to the criminal judgment, since 2001, they had colluded to obtain economic benefits from the savings banks (where they carried out their work) for their own enjoyment and to the banks' detriment by securing economic rights that were not provided in their contracts when they left.

In their first trial pursued before the Spanish Audiencia Nacional, the former CEO was sentenced to two years' imprisonment and the other three executives to one year's imprisonment. They received a reduction in their sentences ultimately because they confessed their crime. The ex-heads of bailed-out lender Caixa Penedés could avoid jail time by returning retirement checks, amounting to €28.6 million out of the total €30.6 million that they stole for their pensions plans.

This could mark a turning point in the conviction of economic crimes in Spain. Offences such as irregular management, which used to be civil offences, are now considered crimes, opening a new chapter in case law available on economic crimes in Spain.