A judge in Madrid has opened an investigation for a possible crime of embezzlement against up to 15 high-ranking government officials, including the Secretaries of State for Finance,

Inés Bardón

, and for the Economy,

Ana de la Cueva

, for the rescue of Plus Ultra. Initiates proceedings, according to an order to which this newspaper has had access, on the 14 members of the Board of Directors of the

Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones Industriales (Sepi)

, at the time of the aid of 53 million euros granted to the airline Plus Ultra .

The head of the

Court of Instruction number 15

of Madrid thus responds to a complaint filed by

Clean Hands

directed against the vice president of the organization,

Bartolomé Lora

, and the rest of the members of the Council, senior officials of nine ministries. Among others, the secretaries of State for Defense, Finance, Energy and the Economy, as well as six undersecretaries, a general secretary, a general director and two heads of Cabinet. Among them, senior positions such as the Undersecretary of Finance,

Pilar Paneque

or the Secretary of State for the Environment,

Sara Aagesen


Outside of the investigation - advanced by

El Español

and confirmed by legal sources


would be the president,

Belén Gualda

, appointed three weeks ago, when the injection of public funds into the airline had already been agreed.

Until Gualda's appointment - and therefore when the loan was granted - Lora served as acting president. He also headed the managing council of the Fund to Support the Solvency of Strategic Companies affected by the pandemic. The decision of this body to grant or not the aid demanded by the companies was key to raising it to the Council of Ministers and it is likely that future proceedings will focus more on them than on the Sepi board of directors. The management council includes the aforementioned Ana de la Cueva, Aagesen or Paneque, the Secretary General for Industry,

Raül Blanco

and the vice president of Sepi. The director of Legal Affairs of Sepì,

Javier Loriente

, acts as secretary


The judge indicates in the order that "the complete file processed for the public aid of the Plus Ultra company should be required from the Sepi."

And also "the identification" of its members of the board of directors so that they are notified of the complaint and the opening of proceedings.

The Clean Hands complaint - which focused on the unjustified decision to consider this company strategic with a single plane - indicated that the Sepi board of directors could have committed crimes of embezzlement of public funds and influence peddling, although this crime does not appear in the resolution with which the judge opens the investigation.

In an extension of the complaint, the union chaired by

Miguel Bernad -

tried in the National Court in the Ausban case - added the possible crimes of corruption in business and against consumers against the president of the airline and the main shareholders of Venezuelan nationality .

The government has so far denied wrongdoing.

The Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, has described Plus Ultra as "relevant" and "strategic" and justified the injection of 53 million through ordinary and convertible loans.

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