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A judge in Barcelona has dismissed allegations that the chair of Iberian firm Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira, Emilio Cuatrecasas, committed tax fraud totalling an estimated €3.7m (£2.9m).
Investigating magistrate José Antonio Cruz de Pablo has dismissed the case on the grounds that there was no evidence to suggest that Cuatrecasas or his ex-wife had avoided paying €3.7m in taxes by channelling personal expenses through various companies, as had been alleged.
The pair were originally called to give evidence on the 24 February, but the deposition was adjourned by the judge as the defence had not received information that was considered critical to the case. (23 July 2012)
Cuatrecasas was then called to the Barcelona Prosecutor’s Office on 21 September to give evidence following the allegations, which were originally filed in December 2011 (6 September 2012).
Cruz de Pablo noted that large law firms can legally use companies to “complement a set of activities or services” and that they can be related to “acquiring and maintaining relationships with clients” or “acquiring property”. He also concluded that he deemed the activity of the companies under investigation to be “real” and “in no way could be considered as fictitious or acting as ‘just a front’”.
Commenting on the case, a spokesperson for the firm said: “We can confirm the press reports confirming that the judge investigating alleged tax irregularities by Emilio Cuatrecasas has ordered the case to be closed. As the investigation has shown, no crime has been committed. This relates to a private matter and therefore the firm has nothing to add to what has already been published about this case.”
Cuatrecasas is the grandson of firm founder Emilio Cuatrecasas Buquet, who established the firm in 1917, and was managing partner before being appointed executive chairman following the death of his father around a decade ago.
In September the firm decided to separate the roles of chairman and chief executive for the first time, seeing former managing director Rafael Fontana take on the executive responsibilities which had previously been undertaken by Cuatrecasas. Cuatrecasas continues in his role as chairman at the firm (14 September 2012).