Mario Conde

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Mario Conde

Mario Antonio Conde Conde (Tuy, September 14, 1948) is a lawyer (Spanish lawyer), businessman and Spanish politician.

Conde became known in the 1980s for being relatively quickly the first shareholder and later president of Banco Español de Crédito (Banesto), at 38 years of age. His business career, presented in the media as brilliant and exemplary, was cut short in December 1993 by the financial scandal known as the Banesto case, for which he was sentenced to 20 years in prison by the Supreme Court. In addition, between 2011 and 2013 he was president of the political party Civil Society and Democracy.

Mario_Conde’s Biography

Son of a customs inspector, he studied at the Marist School of Alicante, where his father was assigned, and later he studied Law at the University of Deusto, where he stood out for his brilliance and his ability to study. According to some publications, during his student life he stood out for selling his notes and for his interpretations sensu contrary to the Law.With twenty-four years he passed the examinations of Lawyer of the State with the best note of the history of this body.

In 1977, when he was 28 years old, he joined the Abelló pharmaceutical laboratory as assistant general director, already directed at that time by Juan Abelló Gallo, son of the founder. In 1983 this company was sold to the multinational Merck Sharp and Dohme for 2,700 million pesetas. Subsequently, in 1984, the Conde-Abelló couple continued their business-financial adventure and bought twenty-three percent of the share capital of the Spanish pharmaceutical laboratory Antibióticos SA, coinciding with the departure of this company from the Fernández López brothers. While his partner Juan Abelló owned something less than 50% of the company, the brothers Jaime and Emilio Botín signed the purchase of another 23% of it. In 1987 in an operation sold the company Antibióticos S.A. to the Italian multinational Montedison for 58,000 million pesetas. It was the most important economic operation carried out in Spain until that moment. [Citation required]

With this money, Juan Abelló and Mario Conde left the pharmaceutical world and went to the financial field, taking an important part of Banesto’s capital, where they are named vice-presidents. At that moment the Bank of Bilbao, at the hands of José Ángel Sánchez Asiaín and Emilio Ybarra, made the first takeover bid known in Spain, at a time of extraordinary difficulty for Banesto. Conde manages to convince the Council and reject the hostile takeover bid of Bilbao. He is named president of the entity in 1987, succeeding Pablo Garnica. In this way, it climbs to the top of financial power in Spain, with thirty-nine years. Later, he tried a merger with the Central Bank, then chaired by Alfonso Escámez.

At this time his popularity grew, he became an example of business success and won all kinds of recognitions, such as the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, which named him Doctor Honoris Causa in an act chaired by the King and the highest authorities of Spain. On April 26, 2016, that title was withdrawn as a result of his arrest on April 11, 2016 for an alleged crime of fraud against public finances.

Banesto case

Before the problems that the Banco Español de Crédito was dragging, that presented a heritage hole of around 450,000 million pesetas (2,704 million euros), caused by the management carried out by Mario Conde and his team, on December 28, In 1993 the Bank of Spain, whose governor was then Luis Ángel Rojo, intervened the entity and dismissed its Board of Directors, replacing it with a new provisional board to ensure the stability and future of the bank.

Since 1994 Mario Conde had to face several legal proceedings related to what was called the Banesto case, which was considered the biggest financial scandal of the 1990s. In the first case he faced, in the trial Argentia-Trust was sentenced in March 1997 to six years in prison, of which he completed a year and a half, by misappropriation and falsification in commercial document, for withdrawing Banesto 3.6 million euros (600 million euros) pesetas), which were initially entered into a Swiss account of the Argentia Trust; The Court considered in its judgment that Count had assets of the Bank that he had to administer without giving any appropriate and coherent answer on their use, Count assured that part of the money had been paid to Diego Selva and Antonio Navalón, so that, through of their contacts, they will obtain tax exemptions for the Banesto Corporation and defend that there was no misappropriation.

On March 31, 2001, the National Court sentenced him to fourteen years for the crimes of fraud and misappropriation, for the Banesto case, and forced him to return 7,200 million pesetas to Banesto. The defenses appeal to the Supreme, and Conde avoided jail with a bail of 500 million pesetas. On July 29, 2002 the Supreme Court increased the penalties, being sentenced to 20 years in prison. In addition, Conde, along with other executives of the Bank, was ordered to pay Banesto 7,200 million pesetas (43.27 million euros). He was admitted to the Alcalá-Meco prison, but he did not reach half of his sentence (from 2002 to 2006), after receiving penitentiary benefits, and in 2004 the director of the prison was dismissed because of the favorable treatment accorded to the prison. Inmate Mario Conde.

Mario Conde has always maintained his innocence, stating that both Banesto’s intervention and subsequent judicial decisions were influenced by political will, and arguing that in the Argentia Trust case, where he is convicted for the misappropriation of six hundred million pesetas, there were false testimonies in the trial in reference to Diego Selva and Antonio Navalón. For this reason he denounced both, being acquitted by the criminal court number 11 of Madrid, following the criteria of the prosecution.

The National Court refused during the judicial process the request of a rogatory commission to Switzerland, on account 225 of the EBC Banking Corporation, to verify if Conde had been the recipient of the stolen money. Later Count would appeal, with the help of the examining magistrate Emilio Coronado, to the Swiss Justice, which would send, once the sentence was completed, the documentation to the Magistrate’s Court No. 16 of Madrid. The new documentation dissociated Conde of the account, but the Supreme Court dismissed the cassation appeal that linked the letter of the Swiss prosecutor Peter Cosandey with the Argentia Trust case. The prosecution and the judges refused to review the sentence. Concerning the 2002 conviction, Conde appealed to the UN Human Rights Committee. In 2005, the committee ruled that Spain had violated Mario Conde’s right to review the sentence, for not being able to appeal the Supreme Court’s 10 to 20-year sentence increase and rejected the ex-banker’s complaints that all sentences had not been reviewed. tests.

On October 9, 2012, during the course of the Galician regional election campaign, in which Conde was presented as a candidate for the Parliament of Galicia by Civil Society and Democracy (SCD), the National Court, through Judge Fernando Grande-Marlaska, ordered the seizure of five estates located in different parts of Spain that, according to the judge, belonged to him, in execution of the 2000 sentence of the Banesto Case. The former banker denied having any relationship with said farms, and linked the embargoes to people close to the PP, referring to Judge Marlaska.

On April 11, 2016 he was again detained by the Civil Guard, due to a new plot of money laundering and crimes against the Public Treasury, related to Banesto, and allegedly committed through a network of foreign companies. The operation, instructed by Judge Pedraz, head of the Central Court of Instruction number 1 of the National Court, included the imputation of the two sons of the employer, as well as a son-in-law.


On September 29, 1973, he married Lourdes Arroyo in the chapel of the Four Evangelists of Illescas (Toledo), and was married until October 13, 2007, when she died at the age of fifty-two. ] They had two children, Mario and Alejandra, and three grandchildren. On June 26, 2010 he married the law professor of the Rey Juan Carlos University of Madrid, María Pérez-Ugena Corominas in Chaguazoso, Orense. They divorced by mutual agreement in February 2016.

More Facts about Mario Conde

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