“I assumed it was a decision of the president.” This is how José Ignacio Goirigolzarri has pronounced this Monday, who has appeared as a witness before the judge in the Villarejo case to clarify the maneuvers to deactivate Luis del Rivero’s attempt to control the entity that Francisco González presided over.

The then number two of BBVA has explained that he was not aware of the hiring in 2004 of Cenyt, the company of Commissioner José Manuel Villarejo. He found out later and flew into a rage. Ángel Cano told him, who at that time was his subordinate – later he replaced him as CEO – and whom Goiri threatened with dismissal if he hid something like that from him again.

The current president of CaixaBank has appeared as a witness, and therefore with the obligation to answer all the accusations. The key question of the investigation of the National High Court is whether it was ordered to hire Villarejo directly knowing that he was an active police officer, which would mean a bribery crime.

According to sources familiar with the statement, Goirigolzarri explained that in May 2005, in a regular office with Cano, he told him that he had to tell him something. He explained that “at the time an intelligence company was hired to analyze the operation” in which the president of Sacyr, Luis del Rivero, wanted to take control of BBVA from the Mexican Pemex.

Who gave the order? Cano did not tell him in that conversation, or at least the witness did not remember him this Monday before the judge. He then assumed that it had been Francisco González who had given the order to hire an intelligence company. Of the steps after that generic order he has “no idea”, he has said.

The former BBVA president himself told the judge that he did order the hiring of an intelligence company to see what was behind the operation, but in no case did he order it to be the commissioner’s.

Goirigolzarri has added that Cano told him that the hiring had been “legal”. It has not been clear what led them in that conversation to raise the option that the assignment was illegal.

In his statement as a defendant, Cano threw balls out about his knowledge of the matter. He indicated that FG had ordered him to hire whoever the head of Security said, the defendant Julio Corrochano, who was his subordinate. But it was not specified that he would go to the Villarejo society. Cano also indicated that the president wanted to leave Goiri out of the matter, whom he mistrusted in this matter.

The banker has explained that he was very angry with Cano for the “disloyalty” of having taken months to tell him what happened in a crisis in which he himself had participated and in which he discovered that action had been taken behind his back. “The normal thing was that he spoke immediately with me,” he has declared.

Legal sources close to Francisco González affirm that in his statement Goirigolzarri explains that “he was aware of this hiring by Ángel Cano in May 2005” (when the Sacyr operation had already failed) and that Cano “did not tell him that the instruction came from the president, but he himself assumed it that way,” according to the same sources, who added that it was “Ángel Cano who should have informed me of this hiring as his superior,” according to Goirigolzarri’s statement.

They add that when Cano declared in December he said he had been on the sidelines of the Sacyr operation and now “it is surprising that he reported in May 2005, and not in December 2004” to Gorigolzarri.

According to the same sources, Goirigolzarri’s statement “confirms what the former president of BBVA himself already declared in 2019 about the Bank’s decision to hire an intelligence company -without knowing, in any case, the contracted company or the activities carried out by the same – within the framework of Sacyr’s attack on the Bank, and therefore does not provide any news in this regard”.

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