The Hearing of Madrid has indicated for the next January 11 the trial against the former president of the Spanish Basketball Federation (FEB) Jose Luis Sáez, for which the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office requests a sentence of four years in prison and a fine of 21,000 euros as the alleged perpetrator of a continuing crime of misappropriation. The oral hearing will be held six years after the alleged irregularities were brought to the attention of the Higher Sports Council (CSD), which triggered the judicial investigation.
Specifically, Section 29 of the Madrid Court will be in charge of prosecuting the facts investigated by the Investigating Court 36 of Madrid, unless the parties first reach an agreement of conformity. In the case, the FEB has exercised the accusation as injured, which demands that its former top leader be imposed an even greater sentence: seven years and nine months in prison for two continuous crimes of misappropriation and unfair administration.
Together with Sáez, the former secretary general-economic director of the FEB will sit on the dock Luis Gimenez, for which the Public Ministry requests one year and nine months in prison as a necessary cooperator. As already reported The Independent, the Federation raises this request to three and a half years when considering it an accomplice of the two crimes that it imputes to the former president.
In the order that agreed to open the oral trial, Judge María José Ortega Moreno set 225,000 euros – “prudentially and without judging its origin,” she indicated – the amount that the two defendants had to secure as civil liability in case will be condemned in the future. That is the amount indicated by the instructor after the Prosecutor’s Office claimed in its accusation an indemnity for the FEB of 136,885.36 euros, exactly 51,020.37 euros less than what the sports entity that Jorge Garbajosa presides over today asks for (187,905 , 73 euros).
Meals, trips, weight loss clinic …
Of the amount calculated by Anti-Corruption, 59,054.03 euros correspond to restoration expenses that Saez allegedly imputed to the federal budget and 45,685.68 euros to the stays and treatments that the then Spanish basketball boss received at the Hotel Villa Padierna Palace Hotel and in the Buchinger Clinic, both in Marbella. In the second establishment, the invoice was charged specifically to the commercial discount agreed with the travel agency that worked with the Federation for reaching a certain volume of sales (reminder).
The figure also includes the 22,738.32 euros billed on account of the stay of Sáez’s sister-in-law at the Aparthotel Husa Acacia Barcelona during the medical treatment she was undergoing, 5,043.22 euros for expenses charged to corporate credit cards “Assigned to another person” and 4,363.61 euros for amounts drawn between 2008 and 2010.
The Federation asks for its former president almost 8 years in prison for unfair administration and misappropriation
The FEB gets a higher amount than the Prosecutor’s Office has appreciated. Thus, it considers that José Luis Sáez paid with federal resources 110,395.10 euros in drinks made in restaurants without justification with the responsibility that he carried out -among them one near his Sevillian home and another in his summer place (Sanlúcar de Barrameda) – and 72,796.21 euros in services billed by two travel agencies, one of them corresponding to a trip made with his family to the Eurodisney complex in June 2009.
So far, the former president has reinstated 70,815.95 euros. The first deposit -for an amount of 25,000 euros- was made on December 10, 2015, just the day that The world revealed that the CSD had ordered a complementary audit of the Federation’s expenses after receiving a complaint that warned of the possible misuse of funds by the then president.
On October 18, 2016, three weeks after the Court of Instruction 36 of Madrid initiated the preliminary proceedings, it returned 21,492.55 euros and another 5,352.40 euros on February 4, 2020. The remaining 18,971 euros were transferred on February 22 June 2020, just 39 days after Judge María José Ortega agreed to continue the processing of the preliminary proceedings through the abbreviated procedure.
“Abusive and unfair use”
The judge who has directed the investigation has revealed that José Luis Sáez «has been making continuous over time, at least since 2008, an abusive and unfair use of his functions as the highest governing body of the former, taking advantage of his position and this by regularly and continuously using federal funds for private use and charging personal and family expenses to the accounts of the Spanish Basketball Federation.
As for Luis Giménez, the judge makes it clear that he did not obtain “direct economic benefit”, although he considers that he supported the actions of the president from his position as the highest economic head of the Federation: “He participated in the illicit conduct of José Luis Sáez at to know it, tolerate it, not prevent it and cooperate in a necessary way, sometimes by action and sometimes by omission, in the consummation of it ».
Sáez has returned more than 70,000 euros since the events were reported to the CSD in October 2015
The facts that Section 29 of the Madrid Court will prosecute after Christmas have their origin in the legal report that the Audit, Control and Monitoring Committee of the FEB accounts – then integrated by the territorial presidents Joan Fa (Catalonia), Francisco Martín Micó (Galicia) and Germán Monge (Vizcaya) – handed over the president of the CSD on October 21, 2015 with the alleged irregularities committed by Sáez when imputing personal expenses to the federation. On November 27, he delivered the documentary evidence that supported this complaint.
Presided at that time by Miguel Cardenal, the Superior Sports Council did not immediately go to the Prosecutor’s Office but instead chose to commission a complementary audit of the FEB accounts corresponding to the period between 2009 and 2014. The work, carried out by technicians from the multinational BDO , confirmed that Sáez may have misused federal funds.
It was on July 14, 2016 when the Administrative Court of Sports (TAD) – a body that three months earlier had already opened disciplinary proceedings against José Luis Sáez and Luis Giménez for a possible very serious offense – decided to bring the facts to the attention of the Public Ministry understanding that they could have criminal significance. The president no longer opted for re-election at the appointment held in July 2016, a process from which former international player Jorge Garbajosa was elected.
The judicial investigation opened by the economic management in his last five years in office forced Sáez in March 2017 to resign from the two positions of responsibility he held in the International Basketball Federation (FIBA): he was a member of both the executive committee and the central board. However, FIBA placed him months later at the head of a working group to help the Brazilian Confederation (CBB) solve its crisis, having its base of operations during that time in Puerto Rico.