Successful cases

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1 º Intervention of money for traveling outside Spain with more than 10,000 euros.

The client traveled from Spain to his country of origin carrying more than 10,000 euros in cash, when the European and Spanish regulations against money laundering establish this limit in movements outside our country. The cash was seized by the Civil Guard at the airport, leaving him with 1,000 euros so that he could return home.

On many occasions, as in this case, citizens are unaware of the obligation to declare capital movements in excess of 10,000 euros and when they travel with higher amounts they find themselves with the unpleasant surprise that if they are discovered, the Police or the Civil Guard intercept the money. From then on, it is the interested party who must make allegations to obtain the refund.

The relevant criteria to obtain the refund are: the total amount, the accreditation of the licit origin, the economic activity developed by the person and its coherence with the amounts carried, if there was concealment of the same and if there is recidivism.

In this case, thanks to the allegations and documentation presented, the return of almost all the amounts seized has been achieved.

2º Aggravated misappropriation of more than 300,000 euros.

Our client, a Greek aquaculture company based in Athens, had contracted the delivery of fish feed to a leading Spanish company in the sector. The value of the contract was in excess of 300,000 euros.

Once the advance payment had been made, the goods left the port of Barcelona and arrived safely at their destination. The problem arose when the laboratory analyzed a sample of the feed sent by the Spanish company, confirming their worst suspicions that the goods sent were not as agreed. In fact, the composition was of such poor quality that it did not comply with current European regulations and therefore could not be used to feed animals.

The Greek company contacted the Spanish company to try to solve the problem and reach an agreement to return the money or send the goods according to the agreement without success. We are currently immersed in legal proceedings to recover the money paid.

3º Cyber-scam with bitcoins

Until not long ago, the Courts in Spain have been reluctant to admit the damage suffered by scams with bitcoin, ethereum, etc. given that our legislation does not contemplate any cryptocurrency as a unit of value or means of payment and therefore, until the sector is not regulated, they are in a sort of legal limbo.

However, this situation has changed as after the National Court in Madrid opened an investigation in a case which has caused a damage of more than 50 million euros to more than 1,000 victims of Spanish origin but also Italian, French, German, Belgian, Dutch, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, etc.

The scam is a Ponzi or pyramid scheme. The company allegedly engaged in cryptocurrency arbitrage and profited from the alleged price divergences between the different cryptocurrency platforms. Under this pretext they could offer monthly returns of up to 15% of the invested capital.

All employees of the company are currently under investigation. Following the request of the lawyers of the injured parties, precautionary measures have been adopted such as the blocking of bank accounts and seizure of assets in the name of those responsible in order to ensure the return of the amounts defrauded.

4º Aggravated misappropriation of administrative subsidies in the amount of 100,000 euros.

Our client, a young Spanish farmer, had received aid from the European Common Agricultural Policy for five years to be applied to the farm of which he was the owner by virtue of a lease contract. The lessor had agreed with him an annual rent that included part of the endowment and the yields of the farm and our client had stopped paying him the rent by virtue of a breached clause of the contract.

The lessor filed a complaint against him for misappropriation and disloyal administration, which was admitted by the Court. The Court has started an investigation to clarify the facts in this case: requests to the banking entities, to the public bodies that grant the subsidies and statements of witnesses and investigated persons, were carried out.

After the statement of our client and the subsequent presentation of a written request for dismissal, the proceeding has finally been closed, so that our client does not have to compensate the plaintiff with any amount.

5º Crime against public health, marijuana plantation

In recent years, marijuana plantations in greenhouses or outdoors have become widespread in Spain. First of all, it is essential to point out that there are many types of cannabis and not all of them are susceptible of being a crime. To do so, they must have psychoactivity percentages above the limits established by European directives and Spanish jurisprudence.

In this case, it was a plantation in a municipality in the northern highlands of Madrid. After making telephone interceptions and following the investigated persons, the police submitted to the judge a request to enter and search the property where the plantation was located, to which the judge agreed.

After obtaining evidence of the crops, these were sent to the competent pharmacological laboratory, which issued a report stating that the percentages of THC in the plants were higher than permitted and therefore, we are dealing with a drug trafficking crime. However, this analysis did not provide an objective and impartial result because the samples taken were almost entirely from the parts of the plant with the highest psychoactive index, instead of being taken proportionally from the stem, leaves and buds. For this reason, we submitted a request for a counter-expertise test to be carried out by a new laboratory after a new sampling.

Several months later, it was finally possible to demonstrate that the plants were in a state of growth that made it impossible for them to be psychoactive and therefore there was no crime against public health.

6º Aggravated fraud with facsimiles of 300,000 euros

In this case, European citizens posed as intermediaries of a Chinese investment group that was looking for real estate and productive assets in Spain to invest part of its portfolio. As victims, they look for Spanish citizens without basic financial training who do not do the necessary due diligence to check if the supposed investment fund exists, is dedicated to investing in this type of assets in Spain and has the funds. They pretend to be interested in property owned by them and let them know that before the purchase of the property takes place, they will receive a commission for the transaction to be paid in cash by the seller.

They then meet at the supposed offices of the investment fund, where they receive the commission from the seller of the property. It is usually 10% or 15% of the total amount of the supposed sale and purchase, and given that we are dealing with millionaire land sales, the amounts are higher than 100,000 euros, even up to 500,000 euros.

7º Falsification of an official document

Our client was originally from a non-European Union country. He had been legally resident in Spain for more than a decade. However, for personal reasons he had to return to his country to take care of a complicated family situation.

His residence permit in our country expired and he was unable to renew it within the period granted for this purpose. For this reason, he tried to travel to our country with a document manufactured by a third party that simulated the original certificate of residence in Spain. However, at the Adolfo Suárez – Barajas airport, he was detained by the National Police agents who oversee entries into our country, upon detecting irregularities in the certificate: color different from the original, stamp printed instead of stamped, document number that did not correspond to the real numbering, wrong date of issue, etc.

In short, it was such an implausible falsehood that only with a routine review by the police agents could it be confirmed that the document was not true, that is to say that it was what is known in criminal law as an innocuous forgery, because it was too coarse or crude. This was the alleged motive that resulted in the acquittal of the accused.

8º Threats in the workplace

There are many types of threats included in the Spanish Criminal Code and depending on the seriousness, the area in which they occur, the consequences for the victim and other circumstances to be taken into account, the penalties are higher or lower.

 

In the present case, the victim was an English employee of an American multinational company who received threats from one of her hierarchical superiors, threats related to her family life, her health and her professional development.

 

We prepared the accusation strategy with all the available evidence: Whatsapps, witnesses, recordings and e-mails and filed a complaint before the competent Court, with an express request for precautionary measures, which were granted.

9º Libel and slander

Our client in Spain, with an important managerial position, received notification of a complaint filed against him by a colleague who accused him of having slandered her, discrediting her performance before the rest of her colleagues and her superior, and of having slandered her by attributing to her the commission of administrative offenses.

After a long investigation with expert reports, opposing appeals and appeals for reconsideration and appeal, statements by the investigated party and witnesses and the submission of numerous documentary evidence, the judge upheld our motion requesting the dismissal and filing of the case. There are several reasons, but it is worth highlighting one: after analyzing the conduct of our client as a crime of slander, it could not be argued that it was criminal because the facts brought to the attention of his superiors by my client regarding the actions of the plaintiff were not criminal, but at most, susceptible to administrative or labor sanctions.

On the other hand, as far as insults are concerned, reproaches about work performance are outside the criminal sphere. Otherwise, there would be an infinite number of criminal proceedings every day for the habitual conduct of hierarchical superiors towards their subordinates. The fundamental principle of criminal law is that of ultima ratio, i.e. it only intervenes in the most serious cases.

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