Photo: Felipe VI and Mariano Rajoy with journalists (Credit: Adrià Costa)
By Nacio Digital staff writers
From October 7th, 2018
King Philip VI personally intervened to force relocations of company administrative headquarters of banks and large companies during the days after the referendum on October 1st, 2017, according to a report by the newspaper Ara. The daily asserts that the head of state, the former Spanish president Mariano Rajoy and other senior cabinet members called businessmen and managers to force the withdrawal of companies from Catalan territory.
These actions are said to be part of a coordinated state reaction to 1-O which began with a massive withdrawal from bank accounts held by administrations and public companies in Catalan banks, with the objective of forcing the relocation of CaixaBank and Banco Sabadell. La Moncloa and La Zarzuela [government and royal palaces, respectively], therefore, joined forces to torpedo the Catalan economy.
According to the newspaper, Felipe VI established contact with the heads of Sabadell and CaixaBank, Josep Oliu and Isidre Fainé. Following this pressure, CaixaBank participated in negotiations regarding the detail of a new law, which would speed up the change of registered headquarters, with Luis de Guindos [then Minister of the Economy] and Jorge Moragas, Head of Rajoy’s Cabinet, to the difficulties with which was the old savings bank, In order to move the headquarters. These negotiations had the result of side-stepping the requirements which were in place, to convene a general assembly of shareholders in order to make such decisions. Eight days after 1-O, all the Catalan companies listed in the Ibex-35 except one, had announced that they were moving or had moved their headquarters outside of Catalonia.
The week of October 2nd, a concerted campaign was launched to capture large accounts who had abandoned Sabadell and CaixaBank, led prominently by Santander bank. Ana Botín’s bank seized the opportunity to capture these new clients, which led to formal complaints by the Catalan banks, according to the information obtained by Ara.
Regarding the multinationals, the newspaper notes that the monarch unsuccessfully pressed several large multinational companies to transfer their headquarters. For example, during the ceremony of Hispanidad Day in Madrid, an emissary from the Royal Palace transmitted the worries of the Crown to “a director of Seat” although in the end, the company, consisting principally of German capital, opted to maintain its headquarters in Catalonia. According to the newspaper, Felipe VI was also personally involved in making calls to “other foreign companies” to move their headquarters outside of Catalonia. Asked by the Ara, the Royal Palace didn’t deny the allegations.