Josep Santacana guards his weapons on the eve of the trial he faces with his ex-wife, Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, for the alleged concealment of assets to avoid paying a million-dollar debt. The businessman and the former tennis player arrive at the oral hearing, which begins this Tuesday, September 12 at the City of Justice in Barcelona, with opposing positions. While she recognizes the facts and presents herself as a victim of her ex-husband, he defends her innocence tooth and nail and attacks the Roland Garros champion.
“It is not true that Arantxa suffers economic difficulties. It is a strategy for the trial to give grief. He lives in a luxury apartment next to the Miami bay 200 meters from Enrique Iglesias’ house. And he insists on taking the children to private schools,” explains Santacana, who has two children with the former tennis player. In an interview with this newspaper, Sánchez Vicario assured that the money accumulated throughout his sporting career is not enough for him to live comfortably now and he blames his ex for the disappearance of his assets. Santacana replies: “Arantxa has companies, money and real estate. He has always had, and continues to have, his hidden heritage.”
The businessman explains, in a conversation with EL PAÍS, that when he married the former tennis player in 2008 – her second marriage – she “was already insolvent.” “Everything was already done and most of her assets had disappeared.” The former tennis player was unable to meet the debts (more than five million euros which now, with interest, are 6.6 million) contracted with the Bank of Luxembourg, which had provided a counterguarantee in the case of tax fraud by the that the three-time Roland Garros champion was convicted. “I entered Arantxa’s life at the ideal time to look for a perfect culprit for all the mistakes they had made,” Santacana laments.
“I have never known or managed his assets. Everything was handled by her family,” explains Santacana, who recalls that the corporate framework was created by the player’s father, Emilio Sánchez (who died in February 2016), and by a family lawyer. She emphasizes that, upon getting married, she signed marriage agreements that excluded her from any right to the former tennis player’s fortune. And she maintains that she never needed her ex-wife to enjoy “a certain wealth” because she has managed multiple businesses. “I never cheated on Arantxa or benefited financially from her,” she says.
Josep Santacana and Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, in February 2016 at the exit of the wake of Emilio Sánchez, the former tennis player’s father, in Barcelona.Mikel Trigueros (Cordon Press)
The Prosecutor’s Office, on the other hand, maintains that Santacana gave “instructions” to his then wife to get rid of properties once the Bank of Luxembourg began to claim the outstanding debt and requests, for each of them, four years in prison for a crime. of lifting of goods. He denies having committed any crime. “The only thing I did was help her gather information for better management of her real estate assets,” he says. And he points out that the operations under suspicion include the sale of four properties (in Barcelona, Cerdanya or the Costa Brava) with charges: “They had debts, mortgages, in some cases embargoes. What was done was not to hide assets, but to disinvest in order to pay the debts.”
Last Sunday, the former tennis player explained in the interview that she will try to recover the assets allegedly squandered by Santacana. The businessman also denies this and suspects that the money is still hidden in Switzerland in her name, although he admits that he has no evidence of this. “When Arantxa saw that she could not pay and asked her father and her lawyer for explanations, they told her that she had assets of 30 million,” she says.
Josep Santacana, on September 11, 2023 in Barcelona. Arantxa Sánchez Vicario’s ex-husband suspects that the money is still hidden in Switzerland and in the name of his former tennis player, Gianluca Battista.
Santacana maintains that Arantxa’s strategy is the result of both “resentment” over the failed marriage (they separated in 2018, and their divorce led to another court battle) and a planned strategy. “When the stick came to him [la deuda] We were newly married. With me he opened his eyes and had no choice but to face the family,” she says. From that time is the publication of a book of her memories (Come on!) in which the former tennis player attacks her parents. But the separation changed things. Arantxa regretted that maneuver and sought family reconciliation. Santacana interprets that the Sánchez Vicarios made it a condition for her forgiveness that she blame him in the Bank of Luxembourg complaint.
The businessman, who is expected to testify next Friday and is defended by lawyer Juan Segarra (from the Molins Defensa Penal firm), is in a complicated procedural position, since Arantxa has recognized the facts, has shown remorse and has asked to be impose a prison sentence of seven months in prison. Santacana asks “that Arantxa not be favored for the sole fact of having been an elite athlete.”
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