Madrid’s Supreme Court found the man guilty on 10 counts of extortion and one of attempted extortion after he blamed the businessmen for “causing the conflict between the Basque Country and the Spanish State”, demanding that they each pay him €50,000 as extortion money.
Jorge G.V. pretended to be a member of Basque separatists ETA in all his written threats, alleging that if the business owners didn't pay up they would be the target “of his armed response with all the consequences it entailed”.
He included a phone number in all his correspondence under the pretence that his victims would receive instructions from ETA members, a trick to get a hold of their mobile numbers.
On the 15th of January 2008, Spanish police were able to arrest Jorge G.V. and two of his accomplices during a money handover planned with one of their victims.
His extortion methods, commonly known as revolutionary tax, were actually employed by ETA to fund their terrorist organization with up to €1.5 million a year, El Mundo reported in 2005.
Spanish right-leaning daily ABC reported in 2011 that up to 1,000 businessmen and politicians in the Basque Country and Navarre were extorted by ETA until the ceasefire of 2011.
Since 1968, the separatist group has been held responsible for killing 829 people, injuring thousands and undertaking dozens of kidnappings.
Some businessmen who refused to pay the revolutionary tax also ended up as ETA victims, as in the case of businessman Ignacio Uría Mendizábal, shot dead in 2008.