Former Pescanova executives, including CEO, facing trial for fraud
A judge in Spain has ordered 19 former leaders of the Pescanova Group, including its ex-CEO, to face trial for a slew of crimes including falsification of company accounts and money laundering.
Redondela, Spain-based Pescanova has been embroiled in legal trouble since February 2013, when the company declined to disclose details of its debt to regulators, prompting an investigation that led to the resignation of the company's CEO, Manuel Fernández de Sousa, and the replacement of the entire board of directors.
The financial fallout from the proceedings resulted in a bankruptcy, in which the old Pescanova became a holding company and a new entity, Nueva Pescanova, took control of most of the firm’s valuable assets. Those assets include global fishing and aquaculture operations in Africa, Europe, and Latin America, processing and product development facilities, and a globally recognized brand of products.
In a 191-page ruling, a judge from Spain’s National Court ruled on Monday, 5 February, that Fernández de Sousa and other top officials from the company, as well as 12 companies associated with the old Pescanova, must face charges related to irregular accounting practices and financial malfeasance. The accused parties now have 30 days from the date of the ruling to request dismissal of the charges or the opening of a trial, according to Atlántico Diario.
Pescanova has been dogged by accusations of illegal financial dealings for years. A 2013 investigation by the Spanish regulator the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV), accused the company of operating using an illegal and undeclared accounting system.
Fernández de Sousa, who now works as director of operations of the Saudi aquaculture firm NAQUA, faces up to 30 years in prison, in addition to fines. He, his wife, sons, and brother also face additional charges relating to an undeclared bank account in Andorra containing the equivalent of more than USD 4 million (EUR 3.2 million), according to Faro de Vigo.