Spanish court throws out €60m ONO fraud case
March 19, 2018 10.44 Europe/London By Julian Clover
A court in Madrid has completely dismissed a lawsuit brought by Vodafone against the management of Spanish cablenet ONO for an alleged VAT fraud of €60 million.
The judge at the No.3 commercial court said that Vodafone was aware of the investigation and had not put forward any objections.
It was alleged that inflated financial figures were based on the sale of international calling minutes, sold without the balance being subject to VAT. However, the turnover from the business was incorporated into the general accounts, improving the overall company income.
Former president José María Castilian, former CEO Rosalia Portela and CFO, Carlos Sagasta were all dismissed by Vodafone when the British telecoms giant took control of the company in 2014.
But it has emerged that Vodafone was aware that an investigation was underway by the tax authorities during the acquisition process and had not raised any objection. Consequently, the executives could not be held responsible for any “lack of information or deceptive behaviour”.
Last July, a Spanish court awarded Castilian a bonus initially withheld by Ono following his dismissal.