Former Pescanova president jailed for 8 years over fraud

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Trouble for prior bosses at Spanish fishing giant.

La Vanguardia reports that Spain’s National Court Audiencia Nacional) has sentenced former Pescanova president Manuel Fernández de Sousa-Faro to eight years in jail for fraud, distortion of economic and financial information, and for falsifying commercial documents that led to the fishing company’s bankruptcy in 2014.

The judgment maintained that de Sousa-Faro obtained funding through “irregular mechanisms and practices” to further obtain bank financing to attract investors who ended up losing their money.

Jailed. Manuel Fernández Sousa-Faro, PHOTO:Testimonios para la historia/ Manuel Fernández Sousa-Faro

In a long catalog of fraudulent activities, it was found also discovered that “names and data of former customers or companies with which they had never had a commercial relationship” were used to apply for bank financing.

The court’s ruling also condemned eleven other former members of the echelons of Pescanova, with lesser sentences ranging from six months to three-and-a-half years.

The newspaper Abc Economia reported the following from the courtroom: “In the 2012 accounts of the entire Pescanova Group, the company issued a financial debt of EUR 1,034 million, a positive growth of EUR 653 million and a result in the financial year of EUR 36.6 million euros in its favor. All fake. The insolvency administration revealed three times the debt, negative equity of almost EUR 1.5 billion, and a real result of almost EUR 800 million in losses. The accounts were signed by the convicted BDO auditor.”

Pescanova used to own significant salmon farming operations in Chile. But in 2014 Pescanova sold salmon farmer Nova Austral, then part of Pesca Chile, to Ewos for EUR 7.4 million. Nova Austral is now owned by private equity companies Altor and Bain Capital.