The Commission National of the Market of Values (CNMV) has imposed a fine of 30,000 euros to the minister of Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, for using privileged information in the sale of shares of the company Abengoa, of which he was a counselor, at a critical time for the firm. Borrell broke in 2015 of 10,000 shares of the technology just a day before collapse in the Stock market, with the occasion of the presentation of a preconcurso of creditors. The agency supervisor of the markets considered, as a director of the company —with access to sensitive information, the minister committed "a very serious offence" to perform the operation. The sanction appears this Tuesday in the Official State Gazette. Borrell has decided not to appeal, although considered erroneous assessment of the CNMV.
The sale of shares took place on 24 November of 2015, just two days before that Abengoa will introduce you to the preconcurso of creditors and the shares fall to 52,07% and a 29,72% in the following two days stock. The CNMV, which opened case file to Borrell and leads investigating the case since July of 2017, imposed the fine on the 27th of September, according to the BOE. The decision comes signed by the chairman of this agency, Sebastián Albella, and is dated the 15 of November.
The official note reports that Borrell is disposed of 10,000 shares, for a total of 9.030 € "for sale for the account of a third party". The third is to Carolina Mayeur, former wife of the minister, to whose name contained the package of shares sold in November of 2015. The text published on Tuesday believes that this sale was made "having privileged information Betorder about this issuer," in reference to Abengoa. The penalty applied is the minimum that provides for the Law of the Market Values for the faults very serious, without the discount that could have benefitted the holder of Foreign early payment.
Borrell acknowledged last month when the securities and exchange commission had already imposed the fine but had not been disclosed, that “it was not appropriate to” sell a part “very, very small” of the stock portfolio of Abengoa managed. The minister admitted that the lack of opportunity, “by the time that they occurred and by the appearance of irregularity that could generate”. In the opinion of the Commission National Securities Market, ensuring transparency in the markets, Borrell "knew relevant information that had not yet been published". Although the minister did not revealed the amount of action it was, sources close to him assured in October that was valued at about 380.000 euros.
Despite the fact that at first he contemplated to do so, the minister finally decided not to appeal the fine. In the first place, so that the issue would be settled and does not acquire more public relevance. Also, as suggested a few days ago at the Congress, to avoid an uncomfortable situation in the Ministry of Economy. Because to appeal against the sanction would have to file an appeal before his companion cabinet, the minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño. “It would be an anomalous situation,” said Borrell, “resort to a Government of which I am part, and I don't think it is politically correct, because it can be presented as a conflict of interest.” Exhausted that avenue, Borrell could have been directed to a court of the contentious-administrative. By agreeing to pay the penalty, the minister waives these procedures, but will file a brief with the securities and exchange commission to make clear its disagreement with the analysis of this organism, as explained by sources familiar with those intentions.
The secretary general of we Can, Pablo Churches, has called for the resignation of Borrell. It has done so through a message on Twitter: "This government cannot allow a minister sanctioned by the SEC for selling shares with insider information. Respect to Borrell by his intelligence and his political height, and I think that resign without the need of the require. Today you have the opportunity to lead by example".