Miguel Arias Cañete, the Spanish Commissioner-designate for Energy and Climate Change, has left five important questions unanswered during his confirmation hearing in the European Parliament, writes Alicia Gutiérrez.
Alicia Gutiérrez is a journalist at the Spanish online media infoLibre. (Translation by Avaaz. Original version here)
1. Has Cañete had any direct links with companies located in tax havens?
From 1997 to 2000, before being appointed as Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Miguel Arias Cañete held the position of joint administrator of Arias & Domecq SL. This company acted in Spain as a permanent representative of Angelmo International, the Spanish-based corporate branch of the company Angelmo International Corp. Panama was included in the Spanish list of tax havens between July 1991 and April 2013.
Cañete’s brother-in-law, Miguel Domecq Solís, acted as the other permanent representative of the mentioned company. In April 2002, the Panama-based company transferred its registered office to Spain. The company was renamed as Angelmo Development SL.
In 1999, all company shares of Angelmo were owned by Havorad BV, registered in Amsterdam. As of today, Angelmo Development SL is 99% owned by the Dutch company Havorad BV which is considered by the Spanish tax office as a shell company.
2. Who is behind the Dutch company Havorad BV?
All available data suggests that at least since the end of the 1980s Havorad BV was owned by Cañete, or his close relatives, led by Cañete’s brother-in-law Miguel Domecq. Havorad BV was constituted in 1962 and doesn’t have a single employee. Havorad BV declared in its 2013 Annual Statement financial assets valued at 32.9 million euros.
By the end of 2013, Havorad was the major shareholder of 12 Spanish companies owned by the family. Among them, we can find two Spanish oil companies — Petrologis Canarias and Petrolífera Dúcar — three additional companies related to the agriculture sector, and seven linked to the real estate sector, like Angelmo Development SL.
Havorad BV’s registration record provided by the Dutch Register, shows that the sole shareholder of the company between May 5th 1989 and December 22nd 2013, was Gold Lion Corporation NV, a company based in the tax haven of the Netherlands Antilles.
From 2007, the accounts introduced a formula according to which the company first considered Miguel Domecq, his wife and children as owners, then finally reducing to just Cañete’s brother-in-law and his grandchildren. In the 2013 Annual Report, all references to nominal shareholders disappear.
3. Have any of those companies been involved in bad tax practices?
The Spanish tax office has been stating for a decade now that Angelmo Development SL, heir to the Panamanian Angelmo International Corp, executed a manoeuvre to pay less taxes since its register in Spain. What manoeuvre? Accounting a sum of €734,600 as a loan to be destined to the reform of a building in Fuenlabrada. This operation was executed in 1997, the year when the Panama-based company Angelmo opened its Spanish branch. The tax office states that the company has never proven that those works were ever done, therefore it does not even consider the loan to exist.
The Spanish Superior Court (TSJM) that ruled on Angelmo’s appeals on April 9th 2013, stated that the taxes deducted by the company’s alleged loan, ended up in Costa Rica.
4. Does Cañete’s family own a third of CEPSA Panamá?
Yes. The Dutch company Havorad BV, which in Spain is a controlling shareholder of Petrologis Canarias and Petrolífera Dúcar, controls a third of the Panamanian affiliation of Cepsa, one of the Spanish giants of the oil sector.
At the end of 2013, Havorad BV owned 57.58% of the Panamanian company Pacific Petroleum Services SA, which owns 33% of Cepsa Panamá. The Panamanian commercial register indicates that Cepsa Panamá SA was constituted in November 1998, with a repartition of percentages that is identical to the current layout: 67% for Cepsa and 33% for Pacific Petroleum Services SA.
According to the Panamanian commercial register, Miguel Domecq Solís has been a chairman on the board of Cepsa Panamá SA since 2007. The files in the Panamanian register now show Miguel Domecq to currently be the director of Cepsa Panamá.
5. To whom did Cañete sell his actions from the family-owned oil businesses?
That information is unknown, because Arias Cañete is not revealing it.
In Petrologis Canarias, according to its 2012 Annual Statement, the Dutch company Havorad BV owned 48%; Miguel Domecq owned 11%; and Civisol owned 20%. Civisol is a business in which Arias Cañete participated as an administrator in 1999 through the entity Arias & Domecq SL.
In summary, the family controlled at least 79% of Petrologis Canarias in 2012. This percentage does not include the 2.5% that Arias Cañete has just sold and that, according to official data, had to be included in the 21% of shares that the filings identify as property of “other” shareholders.
As for Petrolífera Dúcar, also referring to its 2012 Annual Statement, Havorad had ownership of 45.2%; Miguel Domecq had 12.78%; Civisol had 9.7% and Arias & Domecq SL, 9.7%. The remaining 26.75% corresponded to “other” shareholders.
Given that Cañete has only declared his participation in Petrologis and Petrolífera Dúcar, his 2.5% must necessarily be contained within the latter. The previous numbers show that, leaving out the 2.5% of the ex-minister, the family owned at least 73.25% of Petrolífera Dúcar in 2012.