The National High Court opens an oral trial against Iberdrola for manipulating the price of electricity | Economy

The National Court has ordered the opening of oral proceedings against Iberdrola Generación España and four of its directors for an alleged crime against the market and consumers after the alleged artificial increase in electricity prices in the winter of 2013. The head of the central court of Instruction number 2, Ismael Moreno, has imposed a bond of 192.3 million euros to the subsidiary of the energy company, and 107.5 million to each of the natural persons to guarantee future civil liability derived from the process.

The case stems from a request from the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office that concluded that Iberdrola Generación, a subsidiary of the Iberdrola group, allegedly manipulated the market in 2013 to trigger the price of electricity and obtain a millionaire profit. An irregular operation that, according to the calculations of the public ministry, caused a loss of more than 107 million euros, which was “borne” by consumers, marketing companies and insurers.

According to its indictment and sent to the magistrate last June, the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office requested a fine of almost 84.9 million euros for Iberdrola Generación España, as well as two years in prison and disqualification and a 12-month fine with a daily of 400 euros for the then four directors.

The Court has responded to this request from the Prosecutor’s Office to open an oral trial against Iberdrola Generación and four of its senior officials: Ángel Chiarri, Director of Energy Management; Gregorio Relaño, responsible for Optimization, Resource Management and Trading; José Luis Rapún, in charge of Asset Management; and Javier Paradinas, in charge of Short-Term Markets and Global Generation. The public ministry considered them perpetrators of a crime related to the market and consumers. According to a car that has overtaken The confidential, the magistrate orders an oral trial for a crime “related to the market and consumers”.

The prosecution’s account was compelling. The document details how Iberdrola “devised and put into operation a system to increase the price of the energy it sold, beyond what should result from the free concurrence of supply and demand.” His goal was to alter the price and “harm consumers.” And, for this, between November 30 and December 23, 2013, “without legitimate cause to justify it”, it altered the price of the electricity offers corresponding to its Duero, Sil and Tajo hydroelectric plants upwards.

Iberdrola maneuvered “at a level above the daily market price, which prevented matching operations, despite the increase in electricity prices on the spot market in those days, which placed it at an optimal opportunity cost ”. “This situation determined the withdrawal of programming from the aforementioned plants. That is, they stopped producing energy”, Anti-corruption emphasizes in his letter, where he describes the company’s operation as an “artifice” that brought him a profit of more than 21 million euros.

Iberdrola is in the crosshairs of the courts in different instructions. The company is the epicenter of a line of investigation of the Villarejo case, where Judge Manuel García-Castellón maintains that the energy company hired Commissioner José Manuel Villarejo for five alleged espionage projects. Some investigations where Sánchez Galán himself declared, who has remained indicted until last week, when the judge decided to file the case against him considering that the crimes would have prescribed.

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