Spain: Anti-corruption report implicates wind

Spain's inland revenue suspects regional administration officials of receiving at least EUR110 million in backhanders from wind developers, including affiliates of utilities Iberdrola and Endesa, in return for project licenses, according to leaked reports.

In a 94-page report sent to Spain's anti-corruption prosecutor's office, the inland revenue placed 35 projects, developed in 2004-2007, under suspicion. The report was leaked to national daily newspaper El Pais.

The biggest single case involves a joint venture, Energia Global Castellana. It was led by an affiliate of Iberdrola, Ibercyl, which held 60%. The remaining 40% belonged to San Cayetano Wind, allegedly controlled by an official from Excal, a regional-government holding company dedicated to promoting regional exports. The joint venture developed 18 projects to completion totalling 492MW.

The tax agency smelled a rat after San Cayetano Wind progressively sold its 40% share to Ibercyl in 2007-2009. This happened once each project received licences but prior to construction investment. San Cayetano Wind allegedly received EUR47.1 million; nearly 2,000 times its initial stake capital of EUR24,400.

Similarly, the report highlights the Prodener I project in Burgos, led by Endesa. Partner Inverduero, an affiliate of a local construction firm Collosa, took a EUR15,000 capital stake in 2005 and sold it for nearly EUR2.5 million two years later.

The inland revenue report detects many similar transactions between other public officials and developers in Castile and Leon, Spain's top wind power region. The inland revenue is refusing to comment on the cases while investigations are ongoing.

Endesa claimed Inverduero had hit financial difficulties and sold its stake below the market valuation price of EUR4.2 million.

Iberdrola, the only firm to respond to Windpower Monthly, claimed it "has always developed its wind projects in Castile and Leon within the strictest legal bounds". Ibercyl's acquisition of stakes were "made on the basis of market valuations", it added.

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