Iberdrola executives named in criminal espionage investigation
The New Mexico utility company and Avangrid have informed the New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission of a criminal investigation in Spain that names several executives at Avangrid’s parent company, Iberdrola.
It comes as the PRC examines a merger case that would allow Avangrid to acquire PNM.
A document filed Thursday in the merger dossier indicates that Spanish officials are investigating potential criminal activity linked to Iberdrola. The record indicates that Spanish law does not allow government employees to provide services to private companies. However, a government employee may have provided services to 21 companies including Iberdrola. These services may have included espionage.
The case revolves around an investigation into José Manuel Villarejo, a former police commissioner who ran Grupo Cenyt, a security company Iberdrola contracted with from 2004 to 2017.
Iberdrola Chairman and CEO Ignacio Sánchez Galán and other company officials are under criminal investigation as part of a commercial espionage investigation involving Villarejo and his contracts with several large Spanish companies.
“Yesterday’s dispatches indicated that there was an investigation into this matter which now includes a number of new people, including the chairman of Iberdrola, who is also the chairman of Avangrid, Francisco Martínez Córcoles, CEO of the company, and two people who are no longer at Iberdrola (Fernando Becker and Rafael Orbegozo) “, indicates the joint file of PNM and Avangrid.” In Spain, the first step of any procedure is a formal investigation where a A wide net is cast to determine if there are facts that would justify a criminal charge.The investigative stage is just that, an investigation to obtain the facts.
According to Spanish media, Iberdrola allegedly paid Villarejo to spy on people. The Spanish newspaper El Pais further reported that Iberdrola may have paid him for a project known as Arrow, which sought to eliminate opposition from municipalities and environmentalists to building a power plant in Cadiz, a province from southern Spain. El País reported that Arrow was one of at least five suspected contracts between Iberdrola and Cenyt.
“This is not an indictment or the presentation of formal accusations. Instead, the judge accepted the prosecutor’s request to include him in the investigation, ”Avangrid said in a statement that a local spokesperson provided to NM political report. “This is just the next step in the investigation and will include providing testimony. Last month, Iberdrola’s board of directors informed the court that any director, member of the management team or employee of Iberdrola would be available to answer any questions regarding this matter. We deny any wrongdoing and now have the opportunity to respond to rumors and leaks that have targeted the company for several years.