Business The Garrigues firm, which defends BBVA, hired PwC to...

The Garrigues firm, which defends BBVA, hired PwC to prepare the ‘forensic’ report

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In what terms was PwC hired to carry out the ‘forensic’ report, the independent analysis of the alleged hiring that BBVA made with Cenyt, the company of the pillage José Manuel Villarejo? The answer to this question can be very important to measure the reliability of the work done by the consultant, which, according to the version of the financial institution itself and collected in its corporate governance report published this week, download of responsibilities to its current management team chaired by Carlos Torres.

In a document that appears in the summary on the case and that is signed by Pablo Fernández Guerra on behalf of PwC as agent and secretary of its board of directors, it is exposed how the contract was signed that the consultant signed with Garrigues, the responsible office of the defense of BBVA in the case, and that would lead to the preparation of the ‘forensic’ report.

On January 24, 2019 the consulting firm and the firm signed the contract. And it was signed by Javier López Andreo, a partner of PwC and its chief responsible for ‘forensic’ services, and, by the firm, Helena Prieto González, who, “as we have been informed,” says the PwC document present in the summary, «She is, in turn, the lawyer responsible for defending BBVA in these previous proceedings».

According to the letter of Fernández Guerra, in the professional services contract agreed between PwC and J&A Garrigues, SLP, it is stated that, in the framework of the internal investigation in BBVA conducted by the Garrigues law firm, this law firm asked PwC for assistance as an “independent expert” and “in order to conduct a forensic investigation and analysis, objective and independent” in relation to the contracting by BBVA of the services of José Manuel Villarejo.

But, immediately afterwards, independence may be challenged by other paragraphs that would appear in the contract and that appear in quotation marks in the document provided by PwC and that is part of the case summary: «Our assistance» (that of PwC) «would cover the activity of reporting results and technical support to the entity’s external lawyers in order to design BBVA’s defense strategy in criminal proceedings».

The document also states that the Garrigues office “will lead, direct and take responsibility for the project.” It is also noted that the address of the firm «Supervise the services provided by PwC», “Will receive the results of the service”, “evaluate any aspect that is necessary” and “maintain internal controls and monitor ongoing activities”.

As the paper provided by the consultant continues to quote textually from the contract, «any document generated within the framework of this assignment will be part of the investigation conducted by the entity’s external attorneys for the exercise of its right to defense in the Penal procedure”.

So that there is no doubt, the contract between PwC defines the term “document”: it would be any deliverable to be issued by PwC Forensic that arose during the investigation and that could serve as a presentation and report to Garrigues “of the results of the forensic analysis procedures , such as work papers, supporting documents, presentations or memoranda, which will have the purpose of designing the Entity’s defense strategy by the Garrigues office».

Antonio Béjar, former director of BBVA and charged in the case, in his statement, said that the internal investigation promoted by the bank to clarify what happened around the Cenyt contracts was not intended to clarify the facts but to contribute to its defense.

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