A Spanish court has dropped an investigation into the country’s prominent Botin family almost a year after allegations of tax evasion first hit the headlines.
According to the Spanish national court, Banco Santander’s chairman Emilio Botin, his brother Jaime and 10 of their children have resolved the tax situation in a way “that can be considered correct and true”.
The case stems from allegations in June last year that the Botin family, which has run the Spanish bank for more than 150 years, had hidden funds at HSBC’s Swiss private bank in an attempt to evade paying tax.
But when the court announced the probe in 2011, the family denied any wrongdoing – it also presented the court with a tax declaration, which showed the Botins had paid around €200 million in back taxes.
The decision by the court on 22 May to drop the case confirmed “the family had voluntarily and completely regularised its tax obligations, which were and are all up to date”, two lawyers for the family members reportedly said.
Despite owning just 2% of Banco Santander, the Botin family has been involved in running the bank since 1857 when it was founded.
Current chairman Emilio took the helm at the bank in 1986 when he succeeded his father, also named Emilio. Daughter Ana works at the family business too, serving as chief executive of the group’s UK operations.