17 January 2017 – El Mundo
The bankruptcy administrator of Olga Urbana, the property developer of the In Tempo skyscraper in Benidorm, whose future is being decided by the courts, is clear in its findings: neither Abanca (previously Caixa Galicia) nor Sareb (the bad bank) were administrators of the bankrupt company and therefore, neither of them were responsible for the management that led the company to suspend its payments after it accumulated debt amounting to €137 million.
In this way, the position of the bankruptcy administrator, Antonia Magdaleno, who has presented her conclusions about the In Tempo case before the Mercantile Court of Alicante, which is instructing the process, represents a lifeline for the interests of Olga Urbana’s major creditors, above all for Sareb, which is hoping to repossess the property and subsequently sell it to recover some of its debt, which amounts to around €107 million.
Magdaleno considers…that Sareb’s debt should be ranked as special privilege, which would place it at the front of the queue when it comes to receiving proceeds once the building is sold. By contrast, the small creditors, who initiated this bankruptcy proceeding, maintain that Abanca and Sareb did act as administrators of In Tempo’s developer, and therefore that their loans should be considered as subordinated, which would force them to the back of the queue when it comes to receiving any proceeds, whereby allowing the other creditors to recover their loans first.
Magdaleno reminded the Court that construction of In Tempo, the tallest residential skyscraper in Spain, was suspended in 2010 by which point Olga Urbana had used up the entire loan – amounting to €90 million – granted to it by Abanca, something which the small creditors deny. This group of creditors (the construction company Kono, Isidro Bononat – a shareholder of Olga Urbana – and the architect Roberto Pérez Guerras) say that Magdaleno’s investigations have not been independent. (…).
Sareb, which took over the loan that Abanca had previously granted to Olga Urbana, maintains its claim against the Attorney General’s office in which it accuses Olga Urbana of “alleged diversion of funds and company links between owners and administrators of the company and some of their own contractors and suppliers”. The entity calculates that €23 million was diverted.
Similarly, the bankruptcy administrator argues that the fact that Sareb requested the necessary bankruptcy of Olga Urbana “does not represent another example of the bad bank’s involvement in the administration of the business, but rather represents a standard option open to all creditors when a Board of Directors is not fulfilling its duties”. Magdaleno is categorical in this respect. “There is no proof whatsoever that allows us to conclude that first Abanca and subsequently Sareb, carried out any functions akin to those of a real company administrator”. The judge will have the final word.
Original story: El Mundo (by F.D.G.)
Translation: Carmel Drake