Juana Martín, a nine-year judicial ordeal that ends in acquittal

  • By:karen-millen

09

04/2023

The Cordoba designer Juana Martín did not benefit - nor did she benefit others - with the help that, in the form of loans, was granted to her by the public company of the Invercaria Board between 2006 and 2011 when the PSOE governed. And, furthermore, these credits were not granted arbitrarily and irregularly.

That is the conclusion reached by the Provincial Court of Seville, which has acquitted not only the flamenco fashion designer, but also the rest of those who had sat next to her in the accused last month. May in the trial for this separate piece of the macro cause of Invercaria.

The former president of the venture capital company, Tomás Pérez-Sauquillo, the former financial director, Antonio Nieto, and the former director of Promotion, Cristóbal Cantos, whose complaint uncovered the alleged irregularities, are therefore exempt from any criminal responsibility. in the public company and which have led to the opening of some thirty stores, some of which -such as the Tatis olive store- have already ended in condemnation.

Contrary to what the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor maintained - which requested up to eight years in prison for Martín -, the court of the First Section of the Sevillian Court understands that the resolution granting the loan to the designer's company was not "unfair" and that, as if that were not enough, there was no diversion of funds or impairment of public funds and concludes that the losses registered in Invercaria as a result of this operation cannot be the basis of any accusation of irregularity.

The fact that the court considers that the granting of the credit was adjusted to the regulations is an express guarantee to the former president of Invercaria, who was the one who signed it, but at the same time adds the sentence, notified today to the parties, that the Two other former executives complied with the demands "to which they were obliged." Likewise, he affirms that "they did not have decision-making powers, complying with the Invercaria Master Plan and related regulations", therefore "no arbitrariness implied the granting" of the loans.

As for Juana Martín, the magistrates conclude that the loan was proposed to her and that she did not incur in any illegality either by accepting it or by investing it in her business project, which, they add to the thread of the evidence carried out and the statements, was viable. In this sense, the resolution includes how the witnesses who testified in the trial pointed out that "it was a brand with success in the flamenco clothing market, which had paraded in Cibeles and had several awards".

Juana Martín, un calvario judicial de nueve años que acaba en absolución

In short, the Court ruled, "it cannot be determined that the actions of the defendants constitute the crimes for which they are accused", since "it is clear that the necessary technical, economic and financial studies and feasibility studies were carried out to grant the granting of the participative loan, regardless of whether the subsequent result was not the desired one; a result influenced by various factors, including the current economic crisis".

With her acquittal, Juana Martín puts an end - at least for the moment because the sentence is appealable - to a nightmare that she herself denounced when she testified at the oral hearing of the trial and that has lasted for nine long years in which she has remained first as accused and, later with the change of name, as investigated, with the ballast that this has meant for her career.

Martín spoke of "horror" and "vortex" what he has experienced in this period. "It has been a nightmare," he recounted, which surfaced in each parade.

It was precisely as a result of her participation in a parade on the Cibeles catwalk in 2005 when the designer came into contact with Invercaria, after the Minister of Innovation, Science and Business, Francisco Vallejo, called her -according to what she said in the trial- for the public venture capital company to back their project. "They wanted to help me promote my brand and my image interested the Board for being a woman and young. The DNA of my brand is the traditions of Andalusia," she explained.

The former president of Invercaria also pointed to former counselor Vallejo during his statement at the first session of the trial. The former counselor told Pérez-Sauquillo that "the Andalusian brand had to be promoted in the textile sector" and that Juana Martín "was being highly recognized and awarded." Thus, he urged him to "study the possibility and invest" in the Spanish and Flemish fashion designer, to whom Invercaria granted a first loan of 120,000 euros on January 16, 2006.

To questions from the prosecutor, Martín reiterated that "all" the money he received from Invercaria was used for the project. "My conscience has never been to keep anyone's money. I have tried to return it and they have not let me. I was afraid, panicked, I did not understand why the Police were calling me, but I have never thought that this was money that they gave me as a gift", remarked.

The project financed by Invercaria anticipated that Juana Martín would open stores throughout Andalusia and the rest of Spain to sell the clothes designed by her, but only those in Seville and Córdoba and a small office in Madrid began to operate, which eventually closed. "I have fought a lot to keep the stores open and I am still paying the debts today," explained the designer. The reason for the decline, according to Juana Martín, was the crisis that "hit us quite hard." "No matter how much I earned, the expenses overwhelmed us," defended the designer.

In this context of crisis, Juana Martín tried to get Invercaria to postpone her loan payments "and I find that they have filed a lawsuit against me", already at the stage in which Pérez-Sauquillo was not in charge of the capital company risk.

Among the most controversial aspects of Juana Martín's project is the manufacture of clothes designed by her in a workshop in Morocco. Although the dressmaker pointed out that she did not intend to "outsource" anything, she acknowledged that her objective was to make it there to "reduce costs", that the garments were "more affordable and rented to us".

In fact, the dressmaker traveled with Pérez-Sauquillo and Cristóbal Cantos to the Moroccan city of Casablanca to visit a clothing workshop, to which they made a first order of "embroidered and embossed" T-shirts. However, the commercial relationship was not maintained over time because the workshop required them to make "thousands and thousands" of garments there. "It was a large amount and then you had to pay customs and bring the clothes to Spain," Martín clarified.


According to the criteria of

The Trust Project
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Juana Martín, a nine-year judicial ordeal that ends in acquittal
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