• Spain's news in English
Panama Papers
Spanish royal, Almodóvar and Messi named in tax files leak
More than 11 million documents were leaked from Mossack Fonesca, one of the world's biggest offshore law firms. Photo: AFP

Spanish royal, Almodóvar and Messi named in tax files leak

Fiona Govan · 4 Apr 2016, 11:24

Published: 04 Apr 2016 11:24 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

High-profile Spaniards are among the list of influential people named in the largest journalistic leak in history suggesting they have connections with secret companies in Panama to escape tax scrutiny in Spain.

Pilar de Borbón, the older sister of the former Spanish King Juan Carlos and the aunt of King Felipe was president and director of a Panama-registered company from 1974, according to the Mossack Fonesca files.

Pilar de Borbon, the sister of King Juan Carlos sitting her great neices during the abdication ceremony. Photo: AFP

La Infanta, who was a keen horsewoman and fundraiser for a charity supporting homeless children, maintained the role until the company was dissolved the same month as King Juan Carlos abdicated in June 2014 according to the leak.

The wife of former Spanish Agriculture Minister Miguel Arias Cañete (currently the European Commission's Climate Action & Energy Commissioner) was also named in the papers.

Micaela Domecq Solís-Beaumont was empowered to approve transactions of Rinconada Investments Group SA, a Panama company registered in 2005 which was in existence while her husband Miguel Arias Cañete held public positions in Spain and the European Union.

A member of the aristocratic Domecq family, a dynasty with interests in bull breeding, wine and forestry, the Panama papers stated that family interests had benefited from EU farm subsidies during the time that her husband had "served on the European Parliament’s agriculture committee for many years before becoming Spain’s agriculture minister in 2000 and again in 2011. He urged expansion of EU agriculture subsidies to cover bull breeding." 

A lawyer for Domecq said that she had declared all of her income and assets to Spanish tax authorities. The lawyer said Rinconada is not active and that Domecq has no power or attorney and is not "an authorized signatory for the company."

Meanwhile it was reported that Lionel Messi and his family are planning to sue for defamation after El Confidencial online newspaper linked the Barcelona star to tax evasion projects thanks to "the Panama Papers".

Lionel Messi is facing tax fraud case in Spain. Photo: AFP

The newspaper claimed that the Barça star and Argentina captain "set up a tax fraud network" by using Panamanian company Mega Star Enterprises to avoid paying tax on image rights deals, just one day after being indicted by Spanish fiscal authorities over a separate case worth an alleged €4million in unpaid taxes.

Oscar-winning director Pedro Almodóvar's name was also revealed in the papers, which showed that he and his brother Agustin were linked to a company registered in 1991 but inactive since 1994.

Spain's most famous director appeared in the leaked papers. Photo: AFP

The leak came to light on Sunday thanks to the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and suggests that 140 politicians and officials from around the globe, including 72 former and current world leaders, have connections with the secret companies to escape tax scrutiny in their countries.

Story continues below…

The leak involves more than 11 million documents from Mossack Fonseca, one of the world’s biggest offshore law firms.

The papers implicate Russian President Vladimir Putin and his cronies in secret offshore financial deals to channel and launder money.

Among the other politicians implicated in the leak are Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and many others.

Sweden's Nordea bank and around 400 Swedish citizens also feature in the leaked documents. Nordea's Danish branch and Denmark's Jyske bank also feature in the files.

Panama's government announced that it operates a “zero-tolerance policy in all areas of law and finance where work is carried out without the highest level of transparency” and that prosecutors would look into the files for evidence of crimes.

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Fiona Govan (fiona.govan@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain
Photo: Pan's Labyrinth

Forget flamenco dancers and bullfighters, The Local counts down the freakiest alternative costume ideas to dress up in this Halloween.

Man attacked by racist thug in UK street for talking Spanish

Tomas Gil, 27, from Valencia in eastern Spain was talking to his girlfriend in their native language after a night out in the British seaside town of Poole when he was set upon by a racist thug.

Malaga: Police probe bizarre 'sex death' of homeless Brit
The man was found near Malaga airport. Photo: Dennis Howlett / Flickr

A British homeless man was found dead tied to a bench near Malaga airport with his trousers down and his genitals in a can of tuna.

Clock ticking as Spain races to avoid third elections
Third elections could now be avoided. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists voted on Sunday to allow the conservatives to take power, likely averting a third election for Spaniards tired of going to the polls.

Spain worries about tourism future
Photo: Josep Lago / AFP file picture

After basking in its best tourist summer season in 15 years, Spain now sees dark clouds on the horizon as popular destinations reach saturation point and holidaymakers are more thrifty, industry experts say.

Spain's Socialists lift veto on Rajoy to break deadlock
The Socialists have decided to lift their veto on the minority conservative government or not. Photo: Gerard Julien/ AFP

Spain's embattled Socialists on Sunday voted to lift a long-standing veto that has prevented the conservatives from forming a minority government, in what should finally end a ten-month political impasse.

Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
jobs available