J.G. Albalat, Barcelona 18/12/2020
27 03 2019 Gonzalo Boye (arxiu) POLITICA /EUROPA PRESS
The plot intended to introduce into Spain almost four tons of cocaine. Among the defendants is Prado Bugallo, known as Sito Miñanco. The judge attributes the former President’s lawyer to design a fictitious operation. The judge of the National Court María Tardón has prosecuted José Ramón Prado Bugallo, known as Sito Miñanco, and 45 other people, including Gonzalo Boye, lawyer for former Catalan presidents Carles Puigdemont and Quim Torra, to whom she attributes the crimes of money laundering within a criminal organization, originating from drug trafficking, in competition with an alleged forgery. The magistrate has issued this resolution in a case where two operations are being investigated that sought to introduce almost four tons of cocaine into Spain, as well as the creation of a network to launder money. In addition, it sets bonds to cover eventual financial liabilities, which amount to 131.5 million euros.
The magistrate recounted how one of the human emails that Sito Miñanco’s group used to send money to Colombia was intercepted by the police. On February 6, 2017, several of those investigated were arrested at the Barajas airport when they were transporting 889,620 euros hidden in the bottom of their luggage. Faced with this apprehension, two of those now prosecuted began actions to recover the money.
To find a way to do it, Sito Miñanco and two collaborators met with lawyers Gonzalo Boye and Jesús Morán Castro. For that meeting, according to the judge, the lawyers informed her that they would prepare some documents and present some contracts for the sale of bills of exchange according to which, another of the defendants, would have sold them to third parties a few days before the apprehension of the money in Barajas airport.
That alleged business, according to the judge, “did not present any commercial logic”, since in some cases, the bills of exchange were already expired when they were supposedly sold and, in others, the commercial document was dated prior to the mortgage loan by virtue of which it was issued.
The judge concludes that Boye, Morán and a third lawyer, knowing the existence of said exchange bills and “the fictitious nature of the commercial operation, designed and made the documents in order to simulate” that those bills had been sold before the seizure of the money in Barajas and presented them in the sanctioning file, “knowing that they were false and that the sale and purchase transactions were fictitious.” The objective, he adds, was “to recover the money seized and hide that it came from drug trafficking in the last instance.” The lawyer has assured this newspaper that “the facts do not correspond to reality and sooner or later this will be demonstrated.” .
The judge’s order, which includes the request of the Anti-Drug Prosecutor’s Office, details that this investigation began in February 2016, when Sito Miñanco was serving a 16-year sentence in the Algeciras prison and was already enjoying the third degree, which it allowed working in a parking lot in that town. According to the judge, his activity continued to be the introduction and distribution of narcotic substance in Spain, since he maintained her contacts in organizations supplying the drug in South America and the necessary infrastructure.
The network was directed by Sito Miñancos “with a marked personalist character”, together with collaborators of his “highest confidence”, such as Enrique García Arango and Juan Antonio Fernández Fernández, also convicted of drug trafficking. Investigators have been able to identify two specific operations through which it was intended to introduce huge amounts of cocaine into Spain. They were those corresponding to the intervention of the ship Thoran, approached in 2017 when it was transporting 3.3 tons of cocaine and the apprehension, in November of the same year, of a container of cocaine in the Netherlands that concealed 615 kilos of the same substance. The resolution includes the corporate structure attributed to Sito Miñanco.