Embezzlement or blackmail: The mystery of the missing financial adviser in Murcia

Embezzlement or blackmail: The mystery of the missing financial adviser in Murcia

Advisor José Luis Galiana's poster on the SOS Disappeared page.Advisor José Luis Galiana’s poster on the SOS Disappeared page.

The trail of José Luis Galiana disappeared at the foot of a cliff. It was the last February 18 when his red Audi-1 showed up in one of the most famous coves in the Orihuela Costa district (Alicante), Punta Prima. Clumsy, completely upset and leaning on your own roof on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. But empty. Thus began the mysterious case of the disappearance of Galiana, financial adviser from Murcia, 49 years old, 1.85 meters tall, corpulent complexion, black hair and green eyes, who, according to his family, was wearing a dark blue jacket that day He represented the National Center for the disappeared, which issued a warning with its photo. After spending six months in an unknown whereabouts, he returned home at the end of July, where he was arrested by the National Police. He is accused of multiple white-collar crimes, unfair or fraudulent administration, embezzlement and false documentation.

A foreign company has constantly threatened him since 2019, his lawyer Pablo Ruiz Palacios revealed to EL PAÍS. The starting point was a business offer published in a business newspaper. “He read in the ad that a foreign company is requesting a delegated agent for an international financial transaction. Contact them, send any requested documentation and become a delegate in Spain.” The company was a multinational based in Singapore. Shortly after, he “established an operation to finance a real estate development project in Murcia” and his bosses demanded “a substantial payment” for “operating expenses”. Convinced that everything would work out, the consultant withdrew “around 230,000 euros” from the account of the company HUMA Mediterráneo, where he works as an insolvency administrator. And with this fraudulent operation, the Thunder Box was uncovered.

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Realizing that Galiana had easy access to large sums of money, managers at the Asian company began, according to her legal representative, “demanding more income from her without the planned operation going through.” All payments he made, except for the first one, are “intimidating”. “They extort money and threaten him with information about his family, the name of his children’s school, they visit him personally,” adds Ruiz Palacios. When he emptied the coffers in his area, “they demand more”. “He was trapped,” the defense attorney continues, “out of fear he didn’t file a complaint or tell the family.” And certainly not to the owner of the insolvent company. This led to the episode of the alleged Punta Prima accident in February. Just two months later, an investigation by the Civil Guard of Pilar de la Horadada (Alicante) concluded that the Audi’s fall was a trap and the missing person’s report was removed.

Between his advice, his family’s sponsor and a company for which he was insolvency administrator, Galiana is said to have caused a book hole of almost one million euros. The man arrested was living in a “borderline situation” on the day of his disappearance as he drove towards the coast of Alicante, some 60 kilometers from Murcia, for alleged blackmail by the Asian multinational. “According to him,” continues the lawyer, “at that moment he wanted to take his own life, but he thought of his wife and children and decided to disappear”. In order not to leave any traces, he pushed his vehicle into the sea and made an “improvised” escape. The six months during which he apparently disappeared “he spent in Spain and in a nearby country”. That’s all he says he told agents from the National Police Economic and Tax Crime Group who are investigating his case. “He saw the need to disappear, he was the victim of an insurmountable fear,” says Ruiz Palacios.

Upon his return at the end of July, Galiana contacted the lawyer to “face the situation and defend himself”. Both went to the National Police on August 9th. The consultant confessed that he had responded to the extortion with funds from his private consultancy, the municipal family business Morgil II SL and HUMA Mediterráneo. The total funds approved amounted to “around one million euros,” explains the lawyer.

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The imbalance at HUMA, a company that initially reported it for fraud, “is more than 600,000 euros,” the researchers calculate from “numerous documents and relevant information on bank accounts in Singapore and the US, provisions made, transfers, how and through the declarations of the various parties to the proceedings”. Galiana is “actively involved” in the investigation, emphasizes her lawyer. The counselor was eventually arrested and, according to his testimony, released. On September 29, he was summoned by the Murcia Court of Instruction 7. Meanwhile, “efforts to fully investigate the matter and locate the money” continue, the police sources add.

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